Tag Archives: North Eastern Counties Cross Country Championships

North Eastern Counties Cross Country Championships, Sedgefield, Saturday, December 12, 2015


Shelter from the storm
Photo by Karen Newton

Striders were there in reasonable strength and Sally Hughes was first out in the junior women’s race. Unable to hire a taxi from the tent to the start line she was escorted there by Mudpeople and her father. She looked a forlorn sight as she lined up with the other young athletes, most of who were shivering while others were shielded by umbrellas held by more devoted parents or club captains. The sound of the starter’s gun was almost drowned out by chattering teeth but off they went all eager to get going and get warm – or slightly less cold. Sally held her own in the challenging conditions finishing in 28th place in a highly competitive field. Understandably, she made a hasty exit from the field seeking hot food and drink and a more substantial shelter than that offered by the Striders tent!

Sally through the blizzard
Photo by Karen Newton

As these races represent the North East Champs the senior men still get to start before the women and Striders were fielding a company of twelve of their finest brave men. As the young tend to know no fear Jack Lee went out at the front into the blizzard followed by two more senior comrades Neil Sleeman and Capt Evans. As some of you will know Neil hails from slightly warmer climes than Sedgefield in December but he took to the snow like a koala to a gum tree finishing second Strider home behind Jack and ahead of Capt E after an exciting tussle. Old Tom was next home holding off a challenge from the baseball hatted Aaron who was in turn followed in by James Garland making a welcome return to the fray.

Aaron fends of the snow with his baseball capInnes must be benefiting from his own grass sessions as he had a good run as did newbies Alex W and Peter H, the latter supported by his understanding family. Shaun the Sheep’s trailer had been held up in the snow bound traffic so he came out of the pen some minutes behind the rest of the flock. Once other runners were nipping at his heals though he was soon trotting merrily along, although at the end, after braving the blizzard, it looked like he’d been ‘dipped’ if not sheared! The two Mikes made up the team with Mr Bennett resembling a festive Santa speeding round the snowy fields and Mr Hughes covered in the white stuff and thinking Sally had had the best of the conditions. And, as it turned out, she had – so well done lads, a great performance – it’s what the club is all about: great days out and shared experiences in face of adversity!

Well, if the men had to face adversity then the women were facing something even tougher! By now the snow was really meaning business not only covering the course in a thick blanket but also trying to bring down the Striders tent with a duvet size overlay. A field of over 220 snow women lined up for the start. Relieved to get under way Penny of the Antarctic skied off with the front runners followed by Elaine, Sarah and Mudwoman. Debs wasn’t far behind and the hangover she was suffering was soon “washed away like the snow in the rain” as she battled through the white stuff. There was no “compromising” either by any of the Striderettes today: Catherine Elliott made a determined effort to duck the snow flakes, Steph P was making a return to form as conditions become more to her liking, our debutant Fiona Wood smiling (or grimacing) in the knowledge that “things can only get better” and Rebecca serenely floating through the white mud dreaming of Mandalay.

Aaron Gourley's view of the Village

They all contributed to another great performance by the women’s team who, cheered on by Jan and many of the men’s team, finished in the top half of the table in a race where the first three finishers were all international runners and household names (they are in our household anyway). What a great day! Yes it was cold, wet and uncomfortable and the race was hard and tough but that’s what makes x/c so rewarding – the harder it is the more we enjoy that post race glass of wine or beer and the more we feel at one with our club mates. We can’t wait for the next time!


U17/20 women
position bib name race time
1 516 Philippa Stone (Middlesbrough Athletic Club) 20:33
28 512 Sally Hughes 25:00

45 finishers.

position bib name race time
1 1498 Patrick Martin (Stockport Harriers) 40:53
175 1206 Jack Lee 54:14
187 1210 Neil Sleeman 54:30
197 1200 Paul Evans 54:50
243 1208 Tom Reeves 57:27
256 1202 Aaron Gourley 58:10
279 1201 James Garland 59:19
295 1198 Michael Bennett 1:00:19
301 1211 Alex Witty 1:00:42
329 1205 Mike Hughes 1:02:12
340 1209 Shaun Roberts 1:02:53
348 1204 Innes Hodgson 1:03:39
375 1203 Peter Hart 1:06:48

411 finishers.

position bib name race time
1 715 Rosie Smith (Durham City Harries &AC) 31.55
22 744 Penny Browell 37:50
58 743 Elaine Bisson 41:29
79 746 Sarah Davies 42:54
84 747 Susan Davis 43:28
113 750 Debra Goddard 45:01
135 752 Stephanie Piper 46:01
147 749 Catherine Elliott 47:08
193 754 Fiona Wood 52:35
209 748 Rebecca Devine 54:49

224 finishers.

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NE XC Championships, Temple Park, South Shields, Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mudman and Mudwoman

A fine performance on the regional stage!

Lining up for the kill.

Saturday’s NE X/C Champs saw another magnificent Striders’ turnout of 31 runners! A blustery but mild day made the longer than HL courses seem even longer, although there were few hills to tackle and not much mud to speak of either. Adam’s u/20 men’s race was first up and he looked a bit lonely as the field was well spread out after the first lap. Nonetheless he had a steady race to finish strongly in the quality field.

Katherine smiling all the way to the line.Jacquie tries to remember if she left the gas onAnita strides for home.Barbara belts home.Lucy narrowly beats her hair to the line.


Fielding one of the largest teams of 19 runners the Striders senior men soon got stuck in to the long South Shields course. Will Horsley led the team home (no ‘packs’ in this race) followed by the still improving Rob Everson. Other notable performances included David Gibson’s continuing return to form, Simon Gardner’s amazing run – fresh off the plane from Australia and Alan Smith’s encouragingly, gutsy performance! Well done to everyone who ran!

Claire Hairs Home.The Flying Finn Flies to the Finnish.Sue circles the tree.Kerry crests the last hill.Forever ferocious Fiona.


Our club fielded yet another extensive team of Striderettes in the senior women’s race. By the time it was due to start the wind had increased in strength and our flag’s ability to stay upright was being severely tested! But this deterred no one and, as always, KatyKaty gives the photographer a victorious thumbs up! Walton was straight into her stride and just held on until the end of the two laps to be first Strider home although Fiona S was hot on her heels! Striders’ ‘Flying Finn’ (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) Camilla L-M was third home in what was probably her best x/c performance to date. Lucy Cowton was making her x/c debut and she too had a fine run after jettisoning some her excess clothing (I took a fine slip catch to ‘pocket’ her gloves!) There were some brave performances by the Striderettes throughout the field – none more so than by Kerry L – well done to one & all – including the brave Strider spectators (Anna, Keith, Phil,
Sally H, Rob’s Dad etc).


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Daniel Garbutt DURHAM CITY H&AC 39m05s
74 Will Horsley 47m24s
127 Rob Everson 49m52s
167 Geoff Davis 51m37s
177 David Gibson 51m53s
193 Simon Gardner 53m07s
200 Graeme Walton 53m24s
204 Michael Tait 53m27s
209 Mike Bennett 53m54s
225 Richard Hall the Elder 54m32s
231 Jon Steed 54m48s
255 Alister Robson 56m16s
288 Mike Hughes 58m48s
291 Matthew Crow 59m05s
338 John Hutchinson 65m27s
343 Dougie Nisbet 66m24s
350 Innes Hodgson 68m47s
355 Alan Smith 70m58s

361 finishers. Men’s Team 20th of 27.

Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Rosie Smith DURHAM CITY H&AC 29m09s
48 Katy Walton 36m56s
51 Fiona Shenton 37m06s
78 Camilla Lauren-Maatta 39m35s
84 Susan Davis 39m55s
101 Claire Readey 41m03s
118 Lucy Cowton 42m25s
125 Kirsty Anderson 43m06s
137 Jan Young 43m53s
150 Barbara Dick 45m10s
153 Anita Clementson 45m32s
154 Jacquie Robson 46m05s
158 Katherine Preston 47m14s
176 Kerry Lister 54m15s

178 finishers. Women’s Team 16th of 23.

Under 20 Men
Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Cameron Boyek SHILDON R&AC 26m44s
24 Adam WALKER 33m30s

31 finishers.

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NE XC Championships, Hartlepool, Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mudman and Mudwoman

Baptism of Mud!!

Saturday’s NE X/C Champs took place on a very muddy course with lots of ups and downs, ins and outs and ‘topped off’ off by a stream crossing on every lap! If you weren’t there have a look at the videos below and see what you missed! Have a listen for the slop slop of happy runners skipping through the wet mud – it was great!!

I suspect this was a new experience for one or two of our newer Striders who bravely threw themselves into the fray on behalf of their club. Not many Harrier League courses get this muddy and even the Striders tent had to be pitched on what turned out to be a mud wrestling ring! But the twenty-one Striders who turned out to run all (?) had a fantastic time and there were some great performances – with Fiona looking particularly determined as she powered her way through the clarts (I for one wouldn’t have wanted to get in her way!)

So, the X/C season is well and truly in top gear with some great fixtures to come – not only the HL and the Northern Champs (to be held at Knowsley) and the fantastic national championships are to be held just a stone’s throw from Durham!! Watch this space for details – we can’t wait!!

You can't beat a good water-jump at the cross-country ...
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

Jan adds:

The best course yet, well hosted and marshalled by Hartlepool Burn Road club. Striders’ men followed wor Will; no packs, so he was well away.

Jan: '60 at 60'
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

Our ladies battled valiantly on; slip, slop, slid along an up and down course, ankle deep in unrequiting, glutinous mud, with not even a sneaky patch of clear grass. The mud stuck to fell shoes, glogging up the studs, no grip left.

The stream, big talking point, provided excellent spectator entertainment, despite all staying upright, cameras clicking madly. Some clubs had one shoe runners!

Support on the course was noisy, spectators shouting our club name. Thanks to Simon and Mike E who came along to support. Hope Bill, who had to drop out, gets his calf sorted and Katie returns to fight another day.

Adam had a busy day, marshalling Parkrun, slithering along in the U17’s race, then a full shift at Hallgarth Manor until midnight. Oh the energy of youth, but I got the best number and Mudwoman’s delight at handing it to me was obvious, pink 60. I’m framing it!


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Andrew WILES New Marske Harriers Club 39m48s
61 Will HORSLEY 48m18s
137 Thomas REEVES 53m00s
160 James GARLAND 54m01s
168 David GIBSON 54m25s
195 Geoff DAVIS 55m54s
200 Mike BENNETT 56m21s
262 Shaun ROBERTS 60m30s
326 David SELBY 66m48s
328 Alister ROBSON 67m09s

348 finishers. Men’s Team 19th of 30.

... and another at the water-jump. No problem for Rachel.
photo courtesy and © David Aspin
Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Kirsty LEGG Middlesbrough Athletic Club 33m28s
37 Fiona SHENTON 42m18s
54 Rachel TERRY 45m08s
69 Susan DAVIS 46m24s
94 Rachael BULLOCK 50m09s
100 Jan YOUNG 51m28s
113 Katherine PRESTON 57m22s
117 Sue JENNINGS 59m55s
119 Jill FORD 61m38s
120 Emma DETCHON

121 finishers. Women’s Team 15th of 20.

Under 17 Men
Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Luke CLARKE Gateshead Harriers 20m22s
26 Adam WALKER 23m50s

42 finishers.

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NE XC Championships, Cramlington, Saturday, December 10, 2011

Men 12.1km, women 8.2km

Sue Jennings...

Today was my first attempt at a cross country race – I did have to pick one of the most competitive and difficult races and for this, I ended up being last – am getting pretty used to this position now though ha ha.

The race was really tough. Everyone set off fast as you would expect and within a couple of hundred metres I was close to the back. It was absolutely freezing but I soon warmed up! There was me thinking I would need a coat and hat on – thankfully I braved the short sleeves of a tee shirt and striders vest. After what I thought was a couple of miles, I looked at my Garmin to find that I had only completed just over a mile and my legs were already starting to feel heavy – I wondered whether I would actually get to the end at this point and knowing that I had to do the same route twice didn’t help. It was very muddy and slippy but I managed not to end up face down in it. I remember thinking that a 10 miles road run is far easier than this!

As I got in to the second lap, I felt a little more confident that I would finish and knowing that I was at the back meant that I could slow down a little and do my own pace rather than trying to keep up a pace that I wasn’t used to on this sort of terrain. I remember not being far in to my second lap and seeing Nina and Susan heading towards the finish and I shouted well done to them both wishing that was me.

About half a mile from the end James came and ran with me for a little while which was really encouraging and I managed to pick my speed up and nearly caught the girl in front of me – it’s always nearly though ha ha.

I finished eventually in 56 minutes and 20 seconds and the rest of the striders were at the end cheering – it’s a great feeling when you get over that finish line.

Would I do another one? Of course I would and I would also encourage anyone who hasn’t had a go at these types of races before to have a go too. Thanks to all the Striders there today for their support.

Striders Men

…and Mudman

Another excellent turn out of muddy Striders, this time at the North East X/C Champs, saw some fine individual performances and good team placings. Nine men did battle with the long, muddy course led home by Phil in 24th place and Will not far behind in 37th place in spite of posing for Alister, the photographer, at various points in the race (see Alister’s & Nina’s excellent photos below). Our fast lads were supported by a strong team bringing Striders home in 11th place from 25 teams and beating local rivals Crook and Sunderland Strollers.

Seven Striders women managed to drag themselves out of the surprisingly warm tent to perform manfully on the now even muddier course. Fiona led the team home with Sue Jennings supporting in her first, but I suspect not her last, x/c outing. Other regulars were there too with Liz Lamb continuing to run well through the mud. The team finished 9th on the day.


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Ricky STEVENSON New Marske Harriers 39.09
24 Phil SANDERSON 45.02
37 Will HORSLEY 47.00
99 Neil SLEEMAN 50.34
135 James GARLAND 52.18
136 David GIBSON 52.19
182 Geoff DAVIS 55.55
256 Richard HOCKIN 62.36
282 Dougie NISBET 67.37
287 Alan SMITH 71.36

292 finishers. Men’s Team 11th of 25.

Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Rosie SMITH Durham City Harriers & AC 31.39
30 Fiona SHENTON 38.51
50 Nina MASON 41.00
54 Susan DAVIS 41.40
75 Debs GODDARD 44.20
80 Liz LAMB 45.07
106 Jan YOUNG 53.58
109 Sue JENNINGS 56.21

109 finishers. Women’s Team 9th of 13.

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VAA NEE Cross Country Championships, North Shields, Saturday, March 19, 2011

6K / 9K

Fiona Shenton

Cross country but not as we know it – beautiful sunny day, no mud and no hills! Women and men over 65 went first. Striders represented by yours truly and Nina. Nina was well up in the race despite having done Dent last weekend. Unfortunately she doesn’t appear in the results so I hope she will be able to supply a time? I was happy with 25:17 (although not quite so happy when those with Garmins pointed out that the course was well short of the advertised 6K!) Still good enough to be 2nd 50yr old gadgie.

In the mens 35-64 age group race (approx. 9K) we had Mike (37:04), Shaun (38:40) and Conrad (39:02). Mike took the silver in his V55 category. By my reckoning they should also have had a V50-54 team prize?? To be fair to the poor organisers their day started off badly when the school caretaker failed to turn up at the agreed time to open up Monkseaton High School as the race headquarters. Not all bad though as the Foxhunters pub right next to the course agreed to allow in the thirsty finishers to get results and medals.

Shaun adds …

I’m not at all sure we need to be fair to the organisers. How on earth they come up with this course as suitable for ‘cross-country’ is beyond me. Close to pancake-flat without any notable ‘features’ whatsoever. Running past peoples’ front lawns on a Saturday afternoon while they wash their cars and their sprogs kick footballs about. The only connection with the ‘country’ was that there was grass! How about something involving a hill? A moor? A riverbank? Would that be getting a bit close to a fell race? Possibly. But this course was just pitiful.

And our club appears throughout the results as “Elvert Stridders“. Nuff said.

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NE Counties X/C Championships, South Shields, Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mudman and Mudwoman

Mid-day on Saturday was bright and sunny, if a little cold, for the Striders who assembled at Temple Park for the re-scheduled NE Counties x/c championships. The club was well represented by nine men and seven women many of whom were proudly wearing their new Striders’ hoodies (well done Denise). Conditions underfoot varied from deep mud, shallow mud over perma-frost, frozen grass & icy puddles. The course was similar to that for the Harrier League only longer. Fields were slightly down on recent Harrier Leagues although we were joined by runners from foreign climes such as Middlesborough, Marske, Hartlepool, Darlington etc.

The men's start.
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

Runners were keen to get going after having been deprived of their x/c fix for so long and I’m sure I heard Mike Bennett growl at me as he went past on the first lap of three. Competition was hot throughout the field and Striders men were led home by Phil Sanderson in a very credible 14th position. The men’s team, laced with many super-vets including Mudman himself, finished in 17th place out of 21.

Striders women packing nicely.
photo courtesy and © David Aspin

The women, kept waiting for their start as usual, performed very well and were led home by the baby of the team, Keri, who finished in 28th place. There were a number of sprint finishes for the line not least by Mudwoman who took two scalps in a frantic final dash. The women’s team finished in an excellent joint 6th place out of 15 (published results to be corrected).

So, we’re finally up and running again on the cross country front. For those of you who weren’t there yesterday you missed a great race but you’ll soon have a chance to get back into the action at the Northerns (if you’ve entered!) on 29th Jan, The National on the 19th Feb and the next Harrier League (Wrekenton) on 26th Feb. See you there.


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Lewis Timmins Morpeth Harriers 39.34
14 Phil Sanderson 43.42
103 Mike Bennett 53.28
117 Geoff Davis 54.05
139 Conrad White 55.39
183 David Gibson 60.19
188 Richard Hockin 60.45
193 Dougie Nisbet 62.05
208 Alister Robson 65.39
221 David Robson 69.35

231 finishers. Men’s Team 17th of 21.

Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 Kirsty Legg Middlesbrough AC 30.04
28 Keri Pearson 37:18
37 Fiona Shenton 37.41
45 Nina Mason 38.46
54 Susan Davis 40.21
58 Debs Goddard 40.52
63 Jan Young 41.15
87 Joanne Porter 46.24

92 finishers. Women’s Team joint 6th of 15.

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North Eastern X/C Championships, Darlington, Saturday, December 12, 2009


Clubs from Alnwick to Middlesbrough flocked to Darlington for the 104th NE X/C Championships on Saturday. Striders were well represented with both the men and the women able to field strong teams which were led home by Phil Sanderson and Fiona Shenton. The course was flatish and muddy and also longer than those we are used to running in the Harrier League. Nonetheless, everyone enjoyed the day with the tent providing shelter and Elvet Eats providing sustenance.

Well done to everyone who ran or spectated – bring on the Harrier League!


Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 P Martin Sunderland Harriers 38:46
16 Phil Sanderson 41:52
56 Will Horsley 45:58
121 David Gibson 50:20
189 Jamie Steel 55:26
193 Geoff Davis 55:47
210 Stewart Gardner 57:50

244 finishers. Men’s team 15th of 21.

Pos Name Club Cat Time
1 R Smith Durham City Harriers 32:38
26 Fiona Shenton 39:21
49 Susan Davis 42:54
52 Debs Goddard 43:34
55 Nina Mason 44:06

81 finishers. Women’s Team 9th of 12.

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North Eastern X/C Championships, Wrekenton, Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fiona Shenton

Cross country doesn’t get any better, heavy mud over much of the course and sleety rain. Poor Mike Bennett was the only lonesome Strider in the senior men’s race. I’m proud to say the women had a team out as every self respecting NE club certainly should (Ouch – feeling there may be e-mails after that little jibe!). Anyway Jan Young and Jean Gillespie (running as S Barlow) were the other stalwarts. Jean especially was a star seeing as this was her first ever cross country race and she still came out smiling – or was that just because she’d finished? Jan and I both struggled a bit because it turned out we’d both given blood donations on the same day a few days before – very bad team planning.

Still 100 times better than being at The Metro Centre on a Saturday afternoon:-)



Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 HOOD, M Sunderland H & AC 39:26
95 BENNETT, Mike 53:44

183 finishers.


Pos Name Club Cat Pos Time
1 FERRIER, M Gateshead H & AC 31:32
31 SHENTON, Fiona 38:11
56 GILLESPIE, Jean 46:39
60 YOUNG, Jan 48:58

62 finishers. Elvet Striders: 9th Women’s Team of 10.

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NE XC Championships, Herrington Country Park, Saturday, December 9, 2006

Alan Purvis

These Championships were held at Herrington Country Park on Saturday 9 December. The venue was chosen as a dress rehearsal for the National Championships which will take place here in March 2007.

NE Xc Champs

The whole area was reclaimed from pit workings and has been landscaped to form hills and lakes. The course consisted of a run-out to a large lap over initially flat land and then a stiffish climb to a summit before descending and returning to the run-in to the finish.

As a result of the recent wet weather, but probably also through the poor drainage of reclaimed land, the course cut up very easily and after hundreds of feet had passed over the surface it became a quagmire over much of the distance.

The senior men did three laps over the twelve kilometre event while the women covered eight kilometres in their two laps. Despite the mud the times of the leading athletes were very impressive and weren’t very much slower than for similar distances on the roads.

While the catchment area for the event was larger than the Harrier League, including as it did Cleveland and North Yorkshire, the fields were substantially smaller. Perhaps, with reason, many of the slower runners felt that the “Championships” were more daunting than lesser events and therefore didn’t enter. However those who did run had a preview of the Nationals in March.

Striders had five men and one woman competing which meant we didn’t make a team in either event.

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