After waiting for years for a new Harrier League venue two came along at once! No sooner had we found our way to Wrekenton last year than we were taken right out of our comfort zone, last Saturday, to East Cramlington Nature Park. Fortunately host club Blyth had clearly signposted the roads and there were acres of parking space at the Nature Park.
The course consisted of three two-mile laps on grassy paths alongside coniferous plantations. It was undulating rather than hilly without the killer climbs of, say, Farringdon or Prudhoe. The surface was mostly frozen after a week of sub-zero temperatures with one particularly difficult stretch over what had been churned up mud before the freeze. The faster runners found some corners quite slippery and there was one deep ditch which brought the downfall of at least one competitor.
The Strider tent had another outing and was big enough to also accommodate Durham City whose captain, Alan Rowell, had thought there were going to be insufficient Harriers to justify putting up their tent. In the event they had eight men while Striders had nine men and seven women.
There were debut runs for Steven Lindsay and Phil Owen for the men. Tom Reeves was the our first male counter while Donna James was our fastest woman and third overall, justifying her one hundred and fifty mile round journey from Thirsk. Fiona’s son, Robert, had his first senior outing with the Harriers and we saw, back to the Harrier League scene, long-term injured Bob Brown and Roger Wright.
As usual there was plenty of support in both races and plenty of replacement carbohydrates aftewrwards.
Very nice undulating (only) grassy course (round a central ‘bowl’) which was either frozen solid or boggy depending on whether it was in the sun or not. Probably even better next time – i.e. without the rock-hard churned up mud sections.
Well done to all at Cramlington, freezing cold but at least sunny – not nearly enough mud for you Sue!
|1||RUSSELL, Kristopher||Low Fell RC||34:26|
|7||JAMES, Donna||28:01 * fast pack|
|57||SHENTON, Fiona||31:30 * fast pack|