Henry Johnson has made his debut for Gateshead Harriers a moment to remember for the rest of his life. On 3rd November the ECCA National Cross Country Relays held at Berry Hill in Mansfield, were the stage for his first run out with his fellow Under 15 team. Markhim Lonsdale, Joe Armstrong and Henry Johnson proved to be a force to be reckoned with as they rose to the challenge of the 3 x 2km undulating course. The weather could not have been kinder as Lonsdale hit the first leg bringing the boys into a grand 8th place. Johnson was second leg and seemed to have Hermes fastened to his heels as he flew around the course. At one section, Johnson was in the lead of over 100 top athletes from across the country, but he still managed to maintain a solid position and bring his team to 3rd place. Armstrong ran an amazing leg and brought the team home. The boys first thought they were bronze medal holders as Joe finished 3rd over the line, but it appeared that one of the finishers did not have a complete team and so did not qualify. When the “three amigos” heard the outstanding news that they were silver medallists they cheered with joy. Not since 1999 has Gateshead Harriers had an under 15 team on the podium at a National event (where Chris Parr, Marc Elliott and David Nichols finished in the silver medal position). The Gateshead gang crossed the line in 20.18.25 for their 6km and only a few seconds behind the winners City of York Ac and 6 seconds ahead of second place.
In the Junior Men’s section the harriers were less than a minute away from medal place and finished in a respectable 7th place. The 3x3k route was no challenge to Barry Maskell (9.23) as he handed over the first leg in 23rd position to Lewis Hogg. Lewis moved through to 7th place after recording 9.21. Despite his best efforts Calum Johnson, winner of the NEHL previous week, only managed to consolidate the placing with 9.10, and was delighted with sixth fastest of the stage. Gateshead also had B and C team with Dan Johnson (9.38) the quickest for the B team while Simeon Greenwood (9.41) was the C teams’ best. The under 17 men were the only NE representative in the 3x3k and finished 14th. Robyn Waugh was the fastest in her trio and finished 43rd. The under 13 girls event was also over 3x2K and Gateshead was the only region’s team to face the 98 rivals.
These races give the younger age groups an opportunity to run against the best in the country and they did not dissappoint with all the womans teams performing well.(U/15 Girls 30th, U/17 Woman 45th, Senior Woman 57th) The male teams had quite a lot of success with U/15 Boys finishing 2nd (which is a great performance) the U/17 Men were 14th in their age group, with the U/20 Men (3 teams) finishing 7th, 22nd & 34th. (again showing our strength in depth) The Senior Men finsished 62nd & 88th).