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The Road & X-country teams within the club were on there travels again (3rd Nov.) with a trip to Mansfield for the National X-country Relays.  This is an extremely popular Race and Venue and fortunately this year the weather was fine and the course firm, although it was very windy.
The competition is always very high and this year was no exception and with only 4 runners per team there was no surprise when over 170 teams toed the line for the start of the first leg in the Senior Men’s race (each runner covering 5k).  Steven Asquith was our first leg runner he handled the start well as it is very fast with lots of turns to manoeuvre, he seemed to control the first half of the race, which enabled him to move through and consolidate his position.  Steven(69th) handed over to the youngest member of the team James Cripwell who has raced at Mansfield a number of times as he moved through the age groups.  James(58th) moved through the field gradually running even paced laps, but gaps open up very quickly in this race and you have to work all the time to move through or maintain.  Ross Christie ran third leg and you always get 100% from Ross you just have to watch him running to see that and he again used his experience to set about closing gaps down and moving the team through the field, Ross(52nd) handed over to Matt Linsley on the final leg.  Matt has only been running for just over 12 months and his journey has been fantastic so far, running some really good times on the track and now starting to show what he can do on the Roads & X-country.  Matt(49th) is learning all the time as these competitions are all new to him but again he ran sensibly pulling the club through in 49th position.

So well done to the 4 lads, flying the Gateshead flag again at a National Championship, thanks again to all the parents who traveled to support our Young Athletes in the early races and also to the coaches and club officials, this is truly a well organised and a great venue, long may it last.

The club fielded 5 teams in the under 13 and under 15 races at Mansfield.

Top team performance came from the under 15 boys, showing more signs of improvement.  With David Race finishing the first leg in 14th, Theo Barron held on well to come in 35th, setting up Ethan McGlen to take them up to 18th on the final leg.

The individual highlight was Ines Curran’s  4th on the first leg of the under 15 girls.  Faced with the onslaught from the leading runners, Jessica Ord and Freja Bell did well to bring the team home in 53rd .

In under 13 boys ,  Ben Asquith came in 64th on the first leg charge with Oliver Ezeoke and Matthew Das picking up places on the 2nd and 3rd legs to finish 53rd.  The boys found the going tough but it was still a creditable result.

The under 13 girls A team of Anya Crowder, Aoife Bell and Jessica Milburn finished 31st with the B team of Lucy Oliver, Millie Watson and Annabel Milburn coming in 50th . All of the girls ran well, producing two very encouraging results and demonstrating our strength in this age group.

With big fields, fast conditions and a high standard in all races, the event was a big step up from recent local competitions and a challenging new experience for many of our runners. Racing in these relays will benefit them as they prepare for the schools races and North Eastern championships in the next few weeks.

Thanks to race officials and organisers for another enjoyable event.   Thanks to the parents who helped with transport, the changeovers and the problems with the tent!

Report by John Stephenson and Gordon Bell.


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