The North East Harrier League was back in action at Aykley Heads on 23 November following the cancellation of the 2 previous fixtures. The already difficult conditions worsened during the day to make it a real test for runners struggling to get a grip in the mud.
The programme started with a Gateshead win, Harry Garrett leading the under 11 boys home. San Emery was 4th, Matthew Waters 11th and they were followed in by Patrick Moran, Ben Forster, Connor Barrett and Oliver Potts, in his first race for the club.
Skye Marshal was our first finisher in the under 11 Girls in 16th place. Our only other runner was Calli Fordyce also making her debut with a good run in 27th position.
In the under 13 Boys, Theo Dragoi was a clear winner, running from the slow pack but achieving the fastest overall time. With Matthew Das 6th, running strongly from the fast pack and James Schweitzer, in his first race, 39th, the team was 3rd. Innes Fordyce also ran well, not having raced for several months.
First finisher in the under 13 Girls was Annabel Milburn in 5th, with the second fastest overall time. She was backed up Jessica Barrett and Jessie Dornan so that the team finished 8th.
In the under 15 Boys, Ben Asquith was first to finish in 9th, with Cassius Dornan in 10th and Oliver Ezeoke 20th, enabling the team of “year unders” to finish 3rd. In his first race since injury, Will Seager Rooke found it hard running from the fast pack but managed to get through to 47th.
Jessica Milburn won the under 15 Girls holding off the strong competition of the older girls running from the fast pack. With an excellent run from the fast pack, Anya Crowder was 8th. With Freja Bell an encouraging 20th, the girls were 2nd team.
Turnout in the older age groups was reduced because of the Liverpool Grand Prix races and illness. Ethan McGlen led from the start to win the under 17 Men’s race with Jack Garrett a fine 10th.
Despite several call offs, we still had 25 young athletes competing, well done to all of them for coping with the rain, mud and hills! Thanks also to all the parents and supporters and to the organising clubs, officials and marshals.