Tag Archives: Harrier League: Thornley Hall Farm

Location: Google Maps
Directions: Harrier League website
Course: Nov 2016

Harrier League, Thornley Hall Farm, Saturday, February 10, 2018

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Mud King/Mud Queen Race - click flag for more information.

Nick Latham

Courtesy of Joanne PattersonBrutal and brilliant – two adjectives for the North East Harrier League cross-country race at Thornley Hall Farm. All right, brutal may be overstating it a bit, but “quite hard” doesn’t alliterate and isn’t as catchy.
This race was a first for me in many ways. Having joined Striders a couple of months ago, it was my first race as a Strider, my first outing in a Club vest and my first cross-country race. I’ve done plenty of road and trail races before but this was new territory. Cross country was always the punishment, sorry, PE lesson that many of us dreaded at school. Now I’m much older and a little wiser, I reckon that if it’s good enough for current and past pros (Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe, Charlie Spedding, Julian Goater etc. etc.), it’s got to be good for all of us.
I’d arranged to travel with Anna Basu and Roz Layton and was grateful to share the short journey from Durham with them. Parking wasn’t the trauma I’d feared and we arrived with plenty of time to amble along to the top of the race field and find the tent.
I was realistic about my expectations going into this race. I looked at the results from the previous year and had a good idea of where I would likely come out even if it was a road event and it was unlikely I’d be contributing to the scoring. Regardless, I went out determined to race as hard as I could regardless of the (lack of) impact I might have on the results.
We had a good turnout for both teams, with more men arriving as race time approached. The weather was cold but with no rain; there was a chill in the wind, but that seemed to die off while we were waiting to get going; a big blessing. With a fair amount of rain, sleet and snow over the previous weeks and several hundred pairs of feet covering the course before us, it was distinctly “soft & sticky” underfoot. Or a bogfest as our Chairman so elegantly put it on Strava.
The course was also being run in the reverse direction to 2017. One of the marshals thought this would make it easier. I still don’t believe him. The reversed course put a short, sharp grassy uphill after the first couple of hundred metres. Don’t they always look worse from the bottom than the top? The route was both a blessing and a curse – it was great to have the Club tents right at the top of this climb, with loads of encouragement, but that meant I ended up pushing into the red for each of the three laps.
I promised myself I wasn’t going to do it, I wasn’t going to fall into that newbie trap that Mike Barlow and I were talking about beforehand…but I still set off too fast. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who did, but by about half a mile into the first lap I was feeling dreadful – my legs were like lead and I didn’t feel like I could push on at all on the flats and downhills like I’d intended. Sweeping down to the southern part of the course we hit the first of the real mud and I’ve never run through anything like it before. It sucked all the power out of my legs and this proved harder to me than any of the hills. I realised then that I was going to have to adapt my tactics if I was going to avoid a DNF.
I decided that I would do something I hate doing on any run and that’s walk. I allowed myself, provided I contained it to the worst sections and still kept moving as fast as I could. I quickly noticed that anyone who was passing me (other than the fast pack) wasn’t really going much quicker anyway and by keeping my heart-rate in check I could pick the pace back up again when the gradient eased and I would pull away from them again.
The first lap (is that only the first one?) felt like purgatory. Somewhere around the middle of the second lap, either my changed tactics started to pay off or the endorphins finally kicked in; I started to feel better and could push-on harder outside of the uphills. I settled into the ebb and flow, frequently swapping places with a couple of runners from Blackhill and Blyth plus our own Philip Connor. As we headed into the last half mile, I could see Andrew Davies about 12 places ahead of me across the field – too far to make up by that point – but was second in our cluster of four behind the Blyth runner.
I’d sussed on the previous laps that the mud on the final descent was sticky enough to hold my feet so I could pick up speed down into the finish funnel and this allowed me to get away from the other three. I dug into the last of my reserves and made sure I wasn’t going to be caught on the run-in. From the noise, there was a great crowd of purple & green support at the finish and that gave me the boost I needed to wring out the final effort. I don’t remember seeing anyone, I was so focused on reaching the line. I also didn’t see what happened to Philip but he broke clear of the other two to come in a few seconds behind me.
Anna and Roz were waiting when I came through the tapes. It was brilliant to see friendly faces to welcome me back. When I felt up to it we strolled back to the tent to find some very welcome goodies (thank you to those who brought, I’ll know for next time).
In the end, we had 22 men running and I led in the (incomplete) D team as “first” counter, placing 336 out of 414 overall and bang in line with where I expected to be.
The women’s team had a fantastic day. Fiona Brannan was 3rd and the team placed first – brilliant results all round.
It was great to be part of the team and be really made to feel welcome. I just hope that one day I can repay the Club with a result which contributes to our placing in some way!
Will I do it again? Absolutely. Why? Because no matter where you finish, you’re supporting and representing your Club. Even if you don’t count towards the placed team, you can displace runners from other clubs and increase their score; by my reckoning, that’s what 5 of our women’s B &C team and 3 of our men’s B team finishers did. It’s also great for developing your running strength, both physical and psychological. It’s a fair trade for the mud!

Results

men
posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
11864Karl Taylor (Morpeth Harriers & AC)MV35S37:1337:13
69545Stuart OrdMsenS44:2144:21
109523Michael LittlewoodMV40M45:1642:46
110485Chris CallanMV35F45:2340:23
138524Michael MasonMV40F46:0841:08
141519Matt ClaydonMV40S46:1146:11
154520Matthew ArcherMV35M46:3244:02
157546Stuart ScottMV35M46:4244:12
162516Mark GriffithsMV40M46:5044:20
215538Scott WatsonMV55M48:2445:54
228496David GibsonMV50S48:4948:49
231525Mike BarlowMV40S48:5448:54
248548Timothy SkeltonMV35S49:4049:40
252507James GarlandMV40M50:0947:39
271534Richard HockinMV65S51:0451:04
286487Conrad WhiteMV60S51:4451:44
305526Mike BennettMV60S52:3652:36
3211826Aaron GourleyMV35S54:1154:11
325481Andrew DaviesMV40S54:2854:28
3381846Nick LathamMV40S55:2155:21
339533Philip ConnorMsenS55:2455:24
354511Jonathan HamillMV40S56:4456:44
375547Tim MatthewsMV50S59:2059:20
ladies
posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
1644Emma Holt (Morpeth Harriers & AC)FF29:2626:06
31317Fiona BrannanFsenS31:1131:11
23412Emma ThompsonFV35F34:2131:01
26451Rachael BullockFsenS34:2734:27
30410Elaine BissonFV35F34:3731:17
86395Anna BasuFV40M36:5535:15
104452Rachelle MasonFV35M37:3535:55
109449Nina MasonFV40S37:5237:52
145461Stef BarlowFV40S39:2439:24
164455Roz LaytonFV65S40:2340:23
169459Sarah FawcettFV55S40:4440:44
173420Jan YoungFV65S41:0241:02
246437Kerry BarnettFV45S51:1751:17
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Harrier League: Thornley Hall Farm, Thornley Hall Farm, Saturday, February 11, 2017

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Mud King/Mud Queen Race - click flag for more information.

Joanne Patterson

So the day had arrived.  I had been awake most of the night listening to the rain lashing off the windows and dreading the fact that I had to face my demons and have my second try at this NEHL fixture.  My first attempt at it (in fact, my first attempt at XC since I was at school) hadn’t gone great.  As is probably common knowledge by now, I got too carried away and had a nasty fall around 100m from the finish, and so didn’t get to cross the finish line.

I had arranged to travel to Thornley with Tamsin, she picked me up early and we agreed that we must be mad.  It rained the entire journey.  Pictures were being posted on Facebook of the mud and the conditions, which did nothing to calm the nerves and dread.

We arrived at the farm and it was immediately obvious that this was going to be tough.  Everywhere you looked there was mud.  Nowhere near as much grass as I remembered from the first time.

I hunted out the Striders tent and a few of us huddled inside to keep warm.  The tent filled up, the chattering and laughing started, and I didn’t feel quite as nervous.  Knowing that even you seasoned XC pros were dreading it just as much as me, really helped!  I popped out with Kerry and Catherine to cheer on the U11’s, so we could see future Strider Lewis Littlewood having a really good run.  Lots of U13s passed in the next race, minus one or both trainers in some cases – Christ.  I was going to lose my new trainers wasn’t I?  Another thing to worry about!  Shortly after that we headed back to the tent to take off our multiple layers of warm clothing ready for battle.  A few team photo’s (in the warmth of the tent) and we heard the call for the ladies to line up!

We all huddled together (with hardcore vest-wearing Lesley in the centre of the huddle) to try and keep warm, as the rain turned to sleet and we were told there was a 15 minute delay.

This soon passed, and the gun went off.  The first part of the race seems to pass in a blur.  Lots of fast ladies passing me, but I felt I was holding my own in my part of the pack.  Off the grass and through the biggest, icy cold puddle I have ever experienced – wow that was actually fun.  The first hill was slippy slidy mud – I tried to run up it the best way I could, but I don’t think you could describe it as running.  I hear cries of “I can’t do this” from other runners and I immediately feel in good company!  There was literally no avoiding any of the mud or puddles, and I just ended up embracing it, with my main worry being to stay upright.  It was horrible.  It was hard.  My feet were so heavy, the hail bounced off my face like someone had just thrown stones at me.  I can’t do this.  It’s too hard, it’s not for me.  I won’t make a difference – all the faster ladies are way ahead – they make the difference for us.  Not long after these thoughts, I see 2 purple vests holding up an injured Mandy.  Oh no somebody is hurt.  Oh no they’re some of our fast ladies.  She seems really hurt.  I should stop and help.  No Joanne, she has help, she will be ok.  But if I help, I won’t need to run anymore.  But we have potentially lost 3 ladies.  You need to run, you need to do all that you can for the team.  So I keep running.

Massive huge hill.  Jan Ellis has placed herself perfectly in the middle of the hill.  You can’t stop now, she will see you.  You can get up the hill.  I imagine Jon Ayres shouting at me about my arms, and I get up the hill with Jan’s support ringing in my ears.  Wow that was hard.  I think I am going to die – oh great, look here’s Phil and Di with a camera….I carry on steadily, always worrying about falling – I will look like such an idiot if I fall again.  My favourite part of the whole course, is the downhill bit which leads upto the hill next to all the tents – for some reason, I really like that hill.  I take at least 2 ladies with the men shouting support as I went.  I think I may have sworn halfway up, but I didn’t stop.  Crap.  I have to do that whole thing AGAIN?!  For all my mile times on my garmin were a lot slower, it felt like the second lap went so much faster.  I was back around to my favourite part again in no time, met by more male Strider support, plus some comment from Jon about my arms (supportive I’m sure).  I didn’t look over, I just put everything I had into that last hill and passed another 2 ladies (who I think promptly took their places back on the downhill but still…).  Running along that last bit to the finish seemed to take forever, but shout outs from the already finished ladies kept me going.  I have never felt anything like crossing that finish line and stopping my garmin (which for the first time ever I could not have cared less what the numbers were).  I did it.  I blooming did it.  And I wasn’t last!

Now, where are those brownies?

I never understood the love/hate thing that people have for XC until now.  I can’t wait for Alnwick.

Results

men
posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
1401Dan Jenkin (DCH)MsenF43:5038:50
27551Scott WatsonMV50S47:0247:02
29546Phil RayMV35S47:0647:06
30556Stephen JacksonMsenF47:1242:12
38533Matt ClaydonMV40S47:3447:34
49521Jason HardingMV45M48:1045:40
85534Matthew ArcherMV35S49:3149:31
99536Michael LittlewoodMV40M49:5147:21
101500Danny LimMV35S49:5549:55
134507David GibsonMV45S50:5050:50
146520James GarlandMV40S51:2151:21
149514Gareth PritchardMV35F51:2746:27
216532Mark WarnerMV35M54:0351:33
239535Michael HughesMV45S55:0055:00
258525Jon AyresMV40S55:5155:51
265501Dave HalliganMV50S56:2356:23
284499Daniel MitchelMV35S57:5157:51
305549Richard HockinMV60S59:4659:46
331529Malcolm SygroveMV50S62:3962:39
341561Tim MatthewsMV50S63:4463:44
356528Lindsay RodgersMV45S66:0766:07
365544Peter HartMV35S69:0769:07
366504David BrowbankMV35S69:0969:09

369 finishers.

women
posbibnamecatpackrace timeactual time
1613Emma Holt (Morpeth Harriers & AC)FsenF31:1527:55
22416Olivia NealFsenM36:3234:52
48418Rachael BullockFsenM37:3835:58
56432Tasmin ImberFV40F37:4534:25
66419Rachelle MasonFV35S38:0338:03
91428Stephanie PiperFsenS39:0339:03
97391Juliet PercivalFV40M39:4338:03
118407Lesley CharmanFV40S40:4840:48
124433Victoria BrownFV35S41:1141:11
128415Nina MasonFV40S41:2841:28
141406Laura JenningsFsenS42:0642:06
146382Jan YoungFV60S42:3442:34
174434Victoria JacksonFV35S44:1944:19
2051120Joanne PattersonFsenS49:0549:05
235402Kerry BarnettFV40S55:5555:55
238401Kelly CollierFsenS57:3257:32

245 finishers.

 

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Harrier League, Thornley Hall Farm, Saturday, November 26, 2016

Grand Prix Race - click flag for current league tables. Mud King/Mud Queen Race - click flag for more information.

Results

u17 and u20 girls
pos bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 301 Isobel Chaudrey (Gateshead Harriers) FU17 M 19:13 18:08
3 280 Sally Hughes FU20 S 19:52 19:52

41 finishers.

women
pos bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 553 Alex Sneddon (Jarrow & Hebburn AC) Fsen F 29:13 25:53
30 432 Tasmin Imber FV40 M 31:57 30:17
57 417 Penny Browell FV40 F 33:06 29:46
65 413 Mandy Dawson FV45 M 33:15 31:35
74 411 Louise Warner FV35 M 33:36 31:56
78 380 Helen Tones FV40 M 33:43 32:03
81 419 Rachelle Mason FV35 S 33:45 33:45
85 431 Susan Davis FV55 S 33:55 33:55
99 428 Stephanie Piper Fsen S 34:08 34:08
105 391 Juliet Percival FV40 M 34:22 32:42
141 374 Fiona Jones FV35 S 35:26 35:26
158 425 Sarah Davies FV45 M 36:05 34:25
176 415 Nina Mason FV40 S 37:12 37:12
181 382 Jan Young FV60 S 37:24 37:24
183 369 Diane Harold FV40 S 37:28 37:28
212 351 Anja Fechtner FV35 S 38:47 38:47
214 408 Lesley Hamill FV40 S 38:50 38:50
229 434 Victoria Jackson FV35 S 39:28 39:28
241 389 Joanne Porter FV45 S 40:30 40:30
248 409 Louise Barrow Fsen S 40:40 40:40
249 359 Catherine Smith FV40 S 40:42 40:42
267 426 Stacey Brannan FV35 S 42:43 42:43
283 360 Catherine Walker FV55 S 45:03 45:03
290 402 Kerry Barnett FV40 S 46:01 46:01

302 finishers.

men
pos bib name cat pack race time actual time
1 1723 Sebastian Anthony (Loughborough) guest S 36:11 36:11
24 556 Stephen Jackson Msen F 40:25 35:25
61 521 Jason Harding MV45 M 41:47 39:17
87 514 Gareth Pritchard MV35 F 42:30 37:30
92 533 Matt Claydon MV40 S 42:35 42:35
94 540 Neil Sleeman MV40 S 42:36 42:36
103 536 Michael Littlewood MV40 M 42:46 40:16
113 507 David Gibson MV45 S 43:02 43:02
114 519 Jack Lee Msen M 43:02 40:32
163 546 Phil Ray MV35 S 44:15 44:15
171 516 Graeme Walton MV40 S 44:26 44:26
182 563 Tom Reeves MV50 S 44:35 44:35
204 500 Danny Lim MV35 S 45:07 45:07
208 534 Matthew Archer MV35 S 45:13 45:13
228 515 Geoff Davis MV55 S 45:46 45:46
240 487 Aaron Gourley MV35 S 45:57 45:57
261 535 Michael Hughes MV45 S 46:44 46:44
292 499 Daniel Mitchel MV35 S 48:34 48:34
307 549 Richard Hockin MV60 S 49:15 49:15
362 561 Tim Matthews MV50 S 51:59 51:59
395 492 Andrew Davies MV40 S 54:12 54:12
407 510 Dougie Nisbet MV50 S 55:21 55:21
412 498 Craig Walker MV55 S 56:23 56:23
433 545 Phil Owen MV50 S 60:49 60:49
437 544 Peter Hart MV35 S 61:42 61:42

450 finishers.

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