Our Road & X-Country athletes were back to the “Bread & Butter” Harrier League racing, which on Saturday was held in Durham at Aykley Heads on a testing, undulating course, this was the 4th venue in a series of 6 over the winter season
Our Senior Ladies were out in force again after their great Team success at the previous meeting in Gosforth Park and they did not disappoint, Brigid Dennehy, running her first race for the club from the slow pack, went straight to the front and was never headed running on her own and crossing the line over a minute ahead. Brigid was backed up really well by her training partner Aife McSheffrey (running from medium pack) who stormed through the field to finish in 9th position, this set the team up really well and they did not have to wait too long for Jackie Phillipps and Jane Giles to complete the scoring team. But tremendous packing by Katherine Downey, Elizabeth O’Connor, Maggie Lorraine and Stacey Armstrong meant that they backed the scoring 4 counters up. The Team finished 3rd on the day which meant that they went to the top of Division 1 within the League structure, this delighted Team Manager Lisa Atkinson, and really puts the Team in with a chance of winning the League outright, so please let us see good turnouts for the next League fixtures, well done Ladies.
The Senior Men followed the Ladies race with almost 600 runners starting in the 3 packs, with the weather being dry the course stood up really well staying firm but still very testing. Again the men turned out in force, battling through the field, this was very difficult due to parts of the course being very narrow. James Cripwell is starting to get back into good form, and moved through from the fast pack in 27th position, the team needed 6 counters through, and ever present Team Captain Steven Medd closely followed James, with David Wakefield, Matt. Linsley, Will Dixon(U/20) and Dan Alexander making up the team scorers. They finished in 5th place and again consolidated their overall position in Division 1, with Steve. Asquith, Peter McElvenney, Steve Wellings, Kevin Connolly and Phil McKeown all supporting well.
The British & Irish Masters International X-Country races took place in Swansea on Saturday and Conrad Franks who had been selected to run for England in the over 35 age group, ran tremendously well to finish 4th in the Race but also 1st England counter, the England team went on to win the Team race, so tremendous experience and well deserved for Conrad, this should auger well for other Masters races throughout the season.
On Sunday after counting for the Team at the Harrier League (Aykley Heads on Saturday) Dan Alexander ran his first Marathon in Newcastle and he crossed the line 1st, a great effort and time of 2hrs-44mins. This must also auger well for Dan in future Marathons later in the season, and he has, and will prove a great assett to the team over the rest of the season, well done.