It was a busy weekend for our Senior Men’s Road & X-country teams with competitions on both days and at different ends of the country.
On Saturday our Men had the long journey to Birmingham where the National 6 Stage Road Relay was taking place in Sutton Park, the team having qualified via the Northern 6 Stage Champ. which had been run 2 weeks earlier at Manchester, our team had a mix of youth and experience with each runner having to cover the same distance of 5.8k.
We had the experienced International runner Chris Parr on the first leg who had flown back from Bali 2 days earlier, this leg is always extremely competitive, Chris battled well to hand over in 11th position less than 30 secs behind the leader. This was a great start for the team and International Runner & Triathlete Calum Johnson took over on second leg and stormed round the course bringing the team back in 1st position, it was a great feeling to see the club in the lead in a National competition again, tremendous.
This gave our next 4 runners really something to run at with Steve Asquith making his comeback at top level competition running 3rd leg. He handed over to Simeon Greenwood on the 4th leg, Simeon has been living in Oxford for a number of years (staying loyal to the Club). He passed over to Matt Linsley (leg 5) who only came into the sport 12 months ago, this being his first ever National Championship. While Matt gave the reins to our youngest member of the team James Cripwell who coped with being on last leg really well. The Team finished in 33rd position and 12th Northern club out of over 70+ teams finishing, everyone played their part in this team performance, the overall standard of this competition being very high. We feel that we have got to strive to continually to qualify for these Northern & National Championships which is what the club is built on, there are a number of Championship Races over the winter and it would be great to see the Gateshead colours represented in all of them.
So on the Sunday it was back to the Bread & Butter stuff with the 2nd of the seasons Harrier Leagues which took place at Druridge Bay on a dry but windy day and again there were very big fields with over 550 runners in the 3 packs which set off.
For the second Race in a row Daniel Alexander was the first counter coming through from the medium pack and with Conrad Franks charging his way through the field from the fast pack, coming in as our next counter. A mention must be given to Will Dixon who was running his first Senior competition from the slow pack he came in alongside Conrad which was a good effort, the next 3 counters to make up the team were our stalwarts of the senior section – Martin Slater, Steven Medd and Steve Asquith(who had raced the day before) Kevin Connolly and David Wakefield backing them up.
The team finished 6th position to maintain our overall position in the League, the club had a great turn out in this Race so thanks to all those who did run, along with a big thank you to our officials, coaches and parents who helped and supported over this weekend.