Harrier League

Blaydon, Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mudman and Mudwoman

Participation in cross country running in our region has ‘gone through the roof’ judging by Saturday’s HL fixture at Blaydon! Numbers have been growing quite dramatically over the past couple of seasons but the previous record for the Senior Women’s field was exceeded by around 50% on Saturday and the men’s jumped by around 40% as well! Just incredible, and of course, Striders broke their own records with 20 women and 31 men competing for their club. Gone are the days when it was just a few diehards who braved the mud – X/C now seems to be ‘main stream’! So someone must be doing something right somewhere – but success can also bring problems and the organisers (all volunteers) were put under considerable strain on Saturday by the sheer weight of numbers.

Nevertheless a great day was had by all in the unseasonably mild weather and on the surprisingly dry course. Striders gathered around the new giant sized club flag that Alister and Jacquie had kindly brought along. The Striders’ tent was bursting at the seams with debutants and the old girl looked a little weather beaten among the new marquee style jobs on display that were housing runners from Blackhill, South Shields and even DCH! But our new women were not to be put off by a mucky tent and the formidable four (Helen, Jackie, Kerry and Sarah) joined 16 other Strider ladies on the start line among hoards of runners from all the other local clubs. The course itself was a little shorter ‘than advertised’ with only one or two muddy patches (in spite of last week’s rain) and the ‘hills’ weren’t too slippery this year. So all in all it would be a fairly gentle introduction for our newbies – but would they agree?!

Striders Women! Disproportionately pleased to be having first go over a Harrier League course for the first time ...

Katy Walton’s intentions were clear from the off – she was going for it and she sped off near the front of the field on the crest of a sea of purple and every other colour vest imaginable! ‘What Katy did’ was to maintain that high flying position and finish first Strider home – well done! But all the other 19 women battled equally as hard with Helen Tones having an excellent debut finishing third counter and Fiona Jones coming in as second counter in only her second X/C race. It was great to see Greta and Anita giving it their all as well as Debs beginning a new comeback trail! I’d like to mention everyone by name but with such a big team there just isn’t space – although Rachel Terry deserves a mention for powering through from the medium pack to finish where she did. This wonderful team effort resulted in Striders finishing just above the relegation zone in what is a mega competitive Senior Women’s Division 1 – it’s going to be a tough season!

Striders Men! Is this enough to keep Geoff happy, do you think?

No less than 575 runners competed in the Senior Men’s race and it was quite claustrophobic standing in the middle of that hoard as we waited for the starter’s gun. After the off it was difficult to get going in such a crowd and there was some ‘gentle’ pushing and shoving as everyone struggled to get into their stride before the field stretched out a bit. After that it was just a matter of head down and battle round those three laps, watching for the best lines, trying to keep rivals at bay and getting to the end ahead of as many runners as possible – simple! Paul Evans did those simple things the best finishing as first Strider home with Jerry not far behind. Striders had an incredible eight men making their debuts (Dave, David, Innes, Jon, Lindsay, Mark, Mark & Matthew) each with their own tale of effort and sacrifice to tell at the end! It was good to see some old faces out there as well such as Dougie and John Hutch (did you really do a marathon the next day?!) and was that your best ever HL Phil? Well done the lot of you (partic Will and Tom weaving through from the ‘Medium’) – your efforts were rewarded with 7th place in Division 2 – reasonably comfortable but we can do better and must keep putting out these big teams if we want to do well.

Well finally, a big thanks to all the runners and all the Striders that were there taking photos and shouting support (it was like a football crowd in places although much more well-mannered!). Thanks to Roz who was held up in traffic and missed her race and thanks to all the cake bakers – they were delicious! Who knows, I might start watching ‘The Great British Bake off’ – but don’t ‘bake’ on it!!


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Adrian Whitwam Morpeth Harriers 24:54
57 Paul Evans 28:58
66 Jerry Lloyd 29:16
99 Rob Everson 29:51
101 James Garland 29:52
166 Will Horsley 30:37 *M
260 Simon Gardner 32:32
265 Mike Bennett 32:32
275 Geoff Davis 32:50
292 Richard Hall (1) 33:00
300 Dave Halligan 33:05
306 Tom Reeves 33:10 *M
309 Shaun Roberts 33:16
315 Graeme Walton 32:25
338 Jon Ayres 33:50
345 Marc Jones 33:50
347 Michael Tait 34:00
350 Jon Steed 34:00
368 David Brown 34:20
371 Aaron Gourley 34:20
379 Marco van der Bremer 34:25
389 Michael Hughes 34:40
413 Alister Robson 35:05
428 Brian Ford 35:25
444 Matthew Crow 35:35
487 Mark Preston 36:37
493 John Hutchinson 36:44
535 Mark Dunseith 38:26
548 Phil Owen 40:14
550 Innes Hodgson 40:34
551 Dougie Nisbet 40:40
566 Lindsay Rodgers 44:10

*M Medium pack – 2m30s handicap.
*F Fast pack – 5m handicap.

575 finishers. Men’s team finished 7th of 11 in Division 2.

Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Isabella Murray Unattached 19:33
44 Katy Walton 22:04
52 Fiona Jones 22:23
81 Helen Tones 23:00
111 Susan Davis 23:37
114 Rachel Terry 23:39 *M
131 Megan Bell 24:02
133 Sarah Davies 24:05
160 Lydia Bertrand-Hutchinson 24:39
175 Kirsty Anderson 24:53
180 Debra Goddard 25:04
181 Jan Young 25:05
186 Jackie McKenna 25:08
203 Jacquie Robson 25:28
243 Greta Jones 26:54
253 Katherine Preston 27:10
260 Victoria Downes 27:24
272 Anita Clementson 28:00
283 Nicola van den Bremer-Hornsby 28:48
296 Debbie Mcfarland 30:13
301 Kerry Lister 31:01

*M Medium pack – 2m handicap.

309 finishers. Women’s team finished 8th of 10 in Division 1.

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