The North East Cross Country Harrier League (HL) – An Introduction
The HL races are big events for Striders and we usually have around 70-80 members who turn up to run, cheer on their club mates, or usually both! We gather together in the Striders’ tent underneath the purple Striders banner. All Striders are welcome as are their families, friends and well behaved dogs!
The league is over 100 years old so it’s well established and represents traditional, grass roots, competitive running at its best. Striders’ men’s team are currently in the men’s second division and it is my ambition to see them in Division 1. However, my main aim is for everyone to have a great day out, enjoy their run and banish the winter blues! The Women’s team is currently in Division 1 and they have never been relegated, indeed it’s not that long ago when the women actually won the league three times in four years. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could do that again!
The HL is great value. The entry fee for individual runners is £2 (which the club currently meets at the start of the season) and this covers all 7 races! Prior to the start of the season the club x/c captains enter everyone who ran last year plus any new or old members who tell us they would like to run. You will collect your race number from me (Mudman) or Mudwoman at your first race. If you haven’t been registered then arrive at the race in plenty of time and register at the event centre. You will need to pay a token fee for your number.
Once we’ve given you your numbers then you need to use that number for the rest of the season so don’t throw it away! You must also run in a club vest. When you arrive at a race look out for your club flag and club tent which is a green igloo shaped model.
The Senior Men’s Race
This is between 6 and 6.5 miles in length and is the final race of the day starting at around 2:15pm. The ‘field’ numbers between 500-600 runners. There are three packs; fast, medium and slow that set off at 2.5 minute intervals with the slow pack starting first. Anyone running the HL for the first time will start in the slow pack. You will move into the medium pack for the rest of the season and the following season if you finish in the top 10% of the field in a league race. Once in the medium pack you will move into the fast pack if you finish in the top 10%. The first six Striders home, irrespective of the pack they started in, will ‘count’ for the team.
The Senior Women’s Race
This is between will be around 3 to 4 miles and starts prior to the men’s race this is usually around 1.15pm. The ‘field’ is now between 200-300 women. There are also three packs; fast, medium and slow which work on similar lines to the men’s. The medium pack sets off about 2 minutes after the slow and the fast 2 minutes after the medium. Finishing in the top 10% of the field from the slow pack results in promotion to the medium and once in the medium finishing in the top 10% will mean you move up to the fast pack. The first four Striders women to finish the race, regardless of which pack they started in, will count for the team. However, the more runners we put into a race makes it harder for the other teams to beat us so it doesn’t matter if you are a ‘counter’ or not.
The Aykley Heads HL Fixture
Along with Derwentside AC and Durham City Harriers, Striders are responsible for organising the fixture and, as well as much behind the scenes work, we provide a purple army of course and car park marshals on the day. So, if you’d like to get involved and offer assistance just let us know.I hope all this has been useful information but if you have any queries please contact me or Mudwoman via the e-group or speak to us on club night. Full details of fixtures, results, rules & regs can be found here: www.harrierleague.com
Yours in mud
Mudman & Mudwoman