The 2023/24 cross country season got underway on 23 October at the North East Harrier League’s now traditional opening fixture at Wrekenton.  The wet weather meant that the course was muddier than usual and, as ever, the hills presented a testing challenge to the runners

The under 11s started the races with their usual enthusiasm undeterred by the dark clouds and rain. Well done to Emily Foster, Matilda Murphy, Lauren Smith, Scarlett Wrightson and Ava Dyer plus Elliot Hearn, Josh Thompson, Issac Osuji and Jamie Bush most of whom were competing for the club for the first time.

We also had several debutants in the under 13s races. Jack Lee and Joseph Johnson both ran well to finish in the first 40 of the boy’s race with Fergus Jarvis and Amir Raviv backing them up so that the team finished 11th.

In her first race as an under 13, Robyn Hearn was a promising 5th.  in the girl’s race. Jess Lienard and Lucy Jarvis also ran well so that the team finished 3rd.

Following his runaway win in Sunderland Harrier’s Farringdon races and second place in the Junior Great North Run, Alfie Cook had another fine run to finish 12th in the under 15 Boys, running strongly from the fast pack with one of the fastest times of the day. In the under 15 girls, Abigail Ellams was our only finisher in 25th

We didn’t finish a team in the under 17/20 men’s race but Cole Reid and Jack Hendry had encouraging runs in 4th and 5th places respectively.

In the under 17/20 Women Aoife Bell had one of the fastest times of the day in finishing 13th while Iona Johnstone also had a fine run in 18th place.  We were short of a few runners, but Jessica Barrett did well to finish 40th, in a time over 2 minutes faster than last season so that the team finished 8th in defence of the title it won last year.

In the senior men, Shaun Hudson was our only individual medal winner of the day finishing in 3rd place.  He was followed in by Daniel Alexander, Conrad Franks, Sam Hansen packed well to give the team an 8th place finish The B team of Scott Pratt, Chris Parkin, Steven Medd, James Campbell, Stuart Milburn and Anthony Duggan finished 17th.  Well done also to James Campbell and Michael Potter, finishing in an incomplete C team.

Shona Haston continued her fine recent form running from the slow pack to finish 16th in a high standard senior Womens race.  With Sarah Holmes, Emma Middleton , Suzy

Potter and Elizabeth Medd combining well, the team finished 9th in Division 2. Well done also to Joanne Biddlecombe for finishing in support of the team

Thanks go to everyone who assisted with the numbers and the tent and to league officials and host club, Saltwell Harriers.

The next league fixture is on Sunday 8 October at Druridge Country Park.  Anybody still wanting to be registered for this season should contact Steven or Lisa. ( seniors) or me ( young athletes)

Gordon Bell


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