High tide an added handicap for festive Alnmouth runners

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The poor Juniors on the beach had it tough as there was very little beach to run on with the tide being very high for Alnwick Harriers’ Christmas Handicap at Alnmouth.

The Seniors’ event, an hour later, had sensibly moved off the beach due to the fact that some of the runners did not fancy an early race dip in the sea to get round the headland. Therefore it took place on the cycle track from Alnmouth, two miles towards Warkworth, and back.

A massive rainstorm came through about 10 minutes before the start of the event so all dry clothes for after the race were soaked through and poor David Charlton had soggy paper for the timing list.

It was lovely to see Suzie Barwise-Munro and George Skirrow returning from college to take part.

Handicaps were worked out from proven 5k times so Conrad Stewart and Steve Studley got a big advantage with only having relatively slow parkrun times.

This spoiled the usual excellent grouping of finishers for the men, with Conrad coming out on top.

In the ladies’ race, all the women finished within one minute 20 seconds of each other so it felt like there was something to race for the entire time.

There were a mere five seconds between first and second place. There were calls of a fix on the handicaps as the handicap organiser won the race, but to be fair I have done the handicaps for the last six or seven years without winning.

Results with the handicaps in brackets:

1 Conrad Stewart (4 min) 31:41; 2 Steven Studley (4 min) 32:19; 3 Dave Bartrum (6 min) 33:35; 4 Jim Lillico (9 min) 34:30; 5 Tracey Sample (6 min) 34:38; 6 Phil Hemsley (12 min) 34:40; 7 Maureen Bartrum (5 min) 34:42; 8 Graham Skirrow (6 min) 35:00; 9 Ian Simon (12 min) 35:22; 10 Nick Armstrong (9 min) 35:34; 11 Suzie Barwise-Munro (11 min) 35:40; 12 Jock Bolam (9 min) 35:44; 13 Jocelyn Bolam (0 min) 35:48; 14 Shelly Coates (2 min) 35:58; 15 Dave Hindmarsh(9 min) 36:10; 16 Stu Bruce (0 min) 36:31; 17 Graham Crow (10 min) 36:32; 18 George Skirrow (10 min) 37:34; 19 Tim Shephers (2 min) 38:55.

• On Sunday, January 17, Durham City Harriers host their annual Durham Cathedral Cross Country Relays. This is a very popular event that has escaped our attention for a number of years, but that is going to change in 2016.

The cross country season is proving a great success so far and it would be great to keep it going by entering a number of teams in this event.

The races are for teams of three, with each runner completing two laps of a fast, mostly flat, grass course of about 1.5k.

Race times are as follows:

Race 1 - 10.15am veteran men; Race 2 - 10.55am senior and veteran women; Race 3 - 11.35am senior men;

As it’s a team event your extremely generous club will be paying the entry fees. Please add your names (and age on race day) to the list at Willowburn by Wednesday, January 7, at the very latest.