It has been a busy few weeks for our young endurance athletes as the 2021-22 road and cross country season gets underway. Here is a summary of performances so far
• In Sunderland Harriers Cross Country races at Farringdon on 4 September, Sam Emery and Matthew Waters were 9th and 17th respectively in the under 13 Boys
• About 30 of our runners took part in the Junior Great North Run on 11 October. Special mentions go to Emma Blackburn and Aoife Bell, fastest in their age bands, with Oliver Douglass also securing a top 10 time in his age band
• In the Northern Road Relays at Redcar on 18 October, the under 13 Boys team of Sam Emery, Ben Cunningham and Johan Haniffa, were 6th, a fine performance against tough competition. (The following day, Ben was 2nd in the North East Counties under 13 Pentathlon.) Josh Blevins and Luca Shaw both ran well in an incomplete under 17 Men’s team with Josh running the fastest leg of the day
• Josh, Luca and fit again Oliver Douglass combined well to finish in a creditable 18th position in the ERRA National Road Relays in Birmingham on 9 October.
The North East Harrier League started again at Wrekenton on 25 September. In warm and dry conditions the young runners made an encouraging start to the season:
• In the under 11s Emma Blackburn was 3rd and Alice Maguire 12th in the girls race while Amir Raviv and Jack Wrightson were 4th and 8th in the boys race
• Harry Garrett was 5th in the under 13 Boys followed in by Ben Cunningham, Sam Emery, Matthew Waters and Ben Forster
• Emily Cunningham was the only runner in the under 13 Girls but finished an excellent 5th in her first race for the club
• Innes Fordyce did well to finish 23rd in his first under 15 Boys race
• There was a bigger turnout in the under 15 Girls with Millie Watson leading our girls in 5th closely followed by Iona Johnson, Elle Sperring and Jessica Barrett
• In the under 17/20 Womens race Jessica Milburn was 7th while Luca Shaw was 21st in the U17 Men’s race.
Most of the Wrekenton races were run as “slow pack” with the fast packs then formed for the second fixture at Druridge Bay on 10 October. Again it was relatively warm but the uneven surface made it a difficult test:
• In the under 11s, Amir Raviv was 11th and Alice Maguire 15th in the girls
• In the under 13 Boys, Sam Emery was 5th, Matthew Waters 15th and Ben Cunningham, running from the fast pack was 33rd. They were followed in by Patrick Moran and Joshua Sowerby in his cross country debut.
• In her first cross country race, in the under 13 Girls, Layla Campbell was 14th. Emily Collingwood, running from the fast pack, was 23rd, and Maeve Taggart 33rd.
• There was another strong showing in the under 15 Girls, with a fine win by Aoife Bell, closely pursued by Iona Johnstone, Marina Swift (both in the first ten), Millie Watson and Jessica Barrett
• Matthew Das was the only runner in the under 15 Boys, making another comeback from injury in 18th position
• In the under 17/20 Women, Jessica Milburn had another strong run in 5th position and Lucy Oliver was 27th.
After 2 fixtures, the best placed teams are the under 13 Boys in 3rd and the under 15 Girls in 2nd.