Icebergs and Freezing Winds Hit the Sea of Purple!
Striders were subjected to freezing temperatures and ‘nithering’ winds at the Prudhoe x/c on Saturday. The tent was staked firmly to the ground in the battering blast as 22 shivering runners sought shelter in the fragile haven that it offered. This was the final fixture of the season and the Senior women’s team were in real danger of relegation from the ‘top flight’. Our main rivals for avoiding the drop (Wallsend) were there in force and were clearly determined to stay up themselves. It wasn’t going to be easy and indeed it wasn’t!
But the Senior Men were first away and the Striders team was missing many of its more speedy runners. However, there was bags of experience, as well as grey hair, in the team that had turned up to fight against the elements and maintain our ‘respectable’ position in the league table. The course was tough – really tough! – it was three laps so ‘that hill’ had to be tackled three times and in between there was frozen ground, waterlogged ground and very muddy ground but they all made it round safely. Young Tom Spurling led the 11 men home followed by old Tom Reeves running from the medium pack for the first time. Behind them there were some brave performances including Richard Hall, making a welcome return to the mud and ‘counting’ for the first time, Richard Hocking (an ever present this season – I think!) and Chairman Shipman – roaring the team on at the start and bravely battling round in the freezing conditions. Well done everyone! We finished 9th on the day and 6th for the season – ahead of local rivals Crook and Houghton, a great performance! Simon Gardner was there to capture everyone on camera. Well done Simon – that was ‘above and beyond’ and we hope you’ve thawed out! Young Tom’s wife and baby were there too – that must deserve a substantial ‘reward’ Tom!
Our lone representative in the u/17 men’s race, Adam Walker, finished in a fantastic fourth place – from the fast pack! Adam’s had a great x/c season – his first in the Harrier League – and next season he moves up to run with the big boys. I’m sure he’ll be sharpening his spikes and his elbows in readiness over the summer!
After cheering the men in the arctic conditions the women returned to the tent to thaw out and prepare themselves for the main event. Could they do it? Well, if they couldn’t then they’d go down with the purple flag flying vigorously in the now strengthening gale force polar wind! BANG! They were off – ten brave purple clad Striderettes determined to do their best whatever the east wind could throw at them. Megan was the first to show with the Flying Geologist (Rachael Bullock), Fiona and Mudwoman following closely. Roz, Katy, Barbara, Jan and Laura where in the mix too as they all tackled the hill first time round (there were two laps on this race). Grit, determination and the Shipman Roar saw them all to the top and make the right hand turn head down back into the wind. Rachel Terry started to work through the field from the medium pack as the race progressed into the second lap. But things looked tight as the green vests of Wallsend seemed to have the edge although everyone was still giving it their all.
The hill, second time round, saw some mighty brave performances from women from every club in the race – they should all be proud. By now the Flying Geologist (fresh from her altitude training in the Howgills) was the leading Strider and Rachael clung on to this until the finish followed by Rachel T and Fiona. But did they all manage to cling on to their top flight place? You bet they did! (barring any Stewards Enquiry!) All be it by the skin of their teeth and the closest possible margin! Although we were pipped by Wallsend on the day we stayed one point ahead of them for the season and so we should stay up!
Mudwoman and I are always banging on about it not just being the counters that matter in HL races – well, have a close look at the women’s results and you’ll see just how important everyone’s performance was in achieving the result that the Team came away with. WELL DONE STRIDERS!
That’s it then for another season. We would like to thank everyone who has run in the races or has come along to spectate – we hope you’ve enjoyed them and that you’ll be coming back for more next season. Rest assured, we’ll be there – we can’t wait!!
|1||CAIRNS, Steve||Tynebridge Harriers||37:13|
*M Medium pack – 2m30s handicap.
*F Fast pack – 5m handicap.
|1||PEARSON, Emma||Morpeth Harriers||*F||31:04|
*M Medium pack – 2m handicap.
Under 17 Men
*F Medium pack – 2m30s handicap.