The North East Harrier League season concluded with the fixture in the scenic setting of Alnwick Castle grounds.   It was Held in good weather conditions despite the forecast for the return of winter This is always one of the most popular fixtures as overall team and individual placings to be confirmed

The under 11s races were as popular and competitive as ever with runners enjoying the change to the course which meant that they charged down the slope in front of the cheering crowd to the finish.  In front of the cheering crowd In the Boys race, Louis Gibson was the club’s first finisher followed by Oliver and Tom Waldram.  Emily Foster was our only competitor in the girl’s race running hard to finish in the first 40.

Joseph Johnson and Amir Raviv were our only runners in the under 13 Boys both finishing in the first 40, 14th and 54 respectively in the overall placings – solid and promising performances by both in their first year of competition

Emily Collingwood was an excellent 7th in the under 13 girls leading the team to first position on the day ably supported by Alice Maguire, Larkin Reid and Ceinwen and Tegan Bishop,  The grils were overall  winners of their division – congratulations to all the young athletes including those such as Emma Blackburn who couldn’t run at Alnwick but contributed hugely during the season.

In the under 15 Boys Alfie Cook and Jack Hendry both had strong runs from the fast pack finishing 9th and 11th respectively Backed up well by Cole Reid, the boys finished 5th in the team race thereby finishing a creditable 6th in the overall standings, an encouraging end to the season for the squad

There was further team success in the u17/20 women division as the team ended a  successful season (10th in the National Cross Country Relays and 1st in the North Eastern Championships) by winning the Grand Prix competition This is a particularly tough age group as first year under 17 athletes have to race against considerably older runners.  On the day the team was 2nd with Aoife Bell in 6th position,  Iona Johnstone and Annabel Milburn in 12th and 20th  respectively.  Jessica Barrett who has competed in each of the races was 26th

There was a big turnout in the Senior Mens race with Conrad Franks, James Cripwell, Jack Douglas, Fergus Spencer , Phil Jamieson and Kevin Connolly combining well to finish 4th on the day and therefore 3rd overall, the club’s highest position in recent years.  Well done as well to the other runners who ensured the club vest was prominent throughout the race – captain Steven Medd, Stu Milburn, Sam Hancox, Jonny Malley, Toby Bryant and Anthony Duggan.  Conrad Franks capped another successful harrier league season by finishing 2nd in the Grand Prix.

The senior women also turned out in force to dispel the spectre of relegation from Division 2 A strong showing by Katherine Downie, Danielle Pizzey, Freda Summerfield and Beth Curran resulted in a fine 2nd place on the day.  Well done also to Shona Haston who finished 2nd in the Grand Prix despite missing the last 2 fixtures

Thanks to the coaches and parents for transporting athletes and helping with the tent and to the host club,Alnwick Harriers for setting up another successful event.  Thanks, should also go to two NEHL stalwarts, George Patterson and Paul Dixon, who are standing down from their league duties.

The season culminates with the ‘inter Counties Championships at Loughborough on 11 March.  The club is well represented in the North Eastern Counties team. Several of our young athletes will also be competing for the Durham and Northumberland in the English Schools Championships at Leicester on 18 March.

The club is entering teams for Birtley AC’s cross-country relays for young athletes on Sunday 12 March at Lord Lawson School.  Anybody wishing to compete should contact me asap.   I am also taking names for Elswick’s Good Friday races

The Northern Counties Road Relays for senior men and women are being held at Redcar on 1 April.  This will be a great opportunity for the club to show its strength in depth – Athletes wishing to compete should contact captains Lisa and Steven asap

Gordon Bell





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