This event took place at Temple Park, South Shields, familiar to many as a Harrier League xc course, but this being a championship event that familiar course was stretched to 11k for men and 8k for women, with no hiding place as all feet are on the start together, in each race.
253 men contested three laps, with Georgie Hebdon finishing first Strider in 61th place. Lyndsay McEwan was 79th after excellent pacing (race & beer) to work his way past Phil Ray in 86th. Rob Downes, looking undaunted by the underfoot conditions, came in 105th, while Captain Michael Littlewood, suffering from the Striders’ Xmas Party the previous evening, dug in to finish 138th.
XC Captain, Phil, vowed “Never again to attend a party the evening before a championship race” and Georgie declared “The worst run” he’d ever had. The only let up from mud and standing water was the boring football pitch loops!
That was hard work, guys. I’ll take two laps anytime. Unfortunately, we were one man short of a men’s team.
Our ladies fielded a complete team and finished 16th out of 17. Anna Riley finished 83rd out of 165 runners, followed by Nina Mason in 111th, Emily Scott 122th, and Fiona Shenton (always turns out for championships) 147th. I clawed my way around the quagmire, ‘easy option’ thoughts creeping in, until I encountered a drop out runner. That spurred me on. How could I be XC captain with a DNF? My second lap found me picking abandoned shoes out of the mud, hanging them on marker posts and telling marshals to dismantle the course, as I thought I was last, but I just crept in 164th!
A big thank you to Emily S and daughter, Rae, Fiona S and cheerleader Faye Clark for tent help and to Jordan, who carried it to the van. We were panicking we’d be last off grass verge parking with no one to push the van out of mud, but we made it!
Memories are made of this…
|Houghton Harriers & AC
|Middlesbrough Athletic Club (mandale)
Thanks to Faye Clark and Nina Mason for all pictures in this report.