Historic weekend for the Green and Golds
One of the greatest days in Wallsend’s history did not start out as planned when the coach failed to turn up. However, this just added to the drama and we assembled alternative transport to make sure we had our day in the sun! We travelled with a strong team of men and women ready to do battle with the best of the best at the beautiful Harewood House in Leeds on what seemed like a very unseasonal summer’s day.
First up was our English school’s 3k and newly-crowned Northern U17 XC champ – Sam Charlton – to take on the 6k course. He was not tipped as the favourite in Athletics Weekly but all his fellow green and gold runners had belief that he would be the first through the finish line. The race started with Sam easing up the hill and gradually moving into a leading group of 10 athletes who broke away through the first lap, the pace was being pushed on and England international Henry McLuckie made a big break with over one mile to go on a downhill section. Sam and fellow international Will Barnicoat covered this move and with just over 1k remaining, the race was between Sam and Will both testing each other. This was like a home race for Sam with all the support of his family, the green and gold and all the North East supporters pushing him closer to the line. With 600m to go Sam made a final big effort and Will could only look on as the new National XC champion ran clear and became the second ever Wallsend Harriers athlete to pick up this honour. His time was 18.48. Congratulations Sam…now part of Wallsend’s folklore.
The women, inspired by what they had witnessed, took to the start line full of adrenaline and ready to take on the other 1,000+ women. Jess Judd and Emily Hosker Thornhill were the pre-race favourites and our own Danielle Hodgkinson came through with these athletes in the leading pack after the first 1k. However, a niggle forced Danielle to pull out of the race. This did not stop our women competing with the best athletes in England and first home for us was Sarah Robson (36.41) with a great run coming in the top 290 athletes. Emily James, Donna Thompson, Julie Williams, Chrystal Skeldon, Christine Stretesky and Kerri Turner made up our team.
The final event of the day was the men/s National XC and what an event this panned out to be. The finishing trio was Mahamed Mahamed, Emile Cairess and Carl Avery of Morpeth with a very impressive third place. The start of the National gives you goosebumps as over 2,000 men race up to the first corner and take on the two 6k laps. This is one of the toughest and most rewarding races of the year. Our men had 12 fine athletes taking part and finished 63rd (six to count) and 43rd (nine to count) which was a great achievement. First over the line was Jordan Middlemist (41.27) who had been carrying a few niggles but finished in the top 190 athletes, next for the men was Andy Graham, Tim Nicholson, Simon Lyon, David Diston, Joe Collins, Danny Hughes, Andy Wigmore, Adam Hamilton, Mick Skeldon, Simon Charlton, Alan Heslington and Mick Lindsay.
Full results here.
Later on that same day (or rather night) 15 brave Wallsend Harriers took on the notorious Duergar challenge. A 10 mile trail run in the Simonside hills…at night!
Organised by our own Andy Clarke, the event is in its third year and is fast becoming a popular addition to the Harrier calendar.
Hats off to Sam Proud (first Wallsend home in 1hr34), James Torbett, Stephen Taylor, Mick Lindsay (hang on, didn’t he do x-country earlier in the day?!?!), Joe Colligan, Anna French (first Wallsend lady and fifth female overall in 1hr46), Dave Hall, Paul Heatherington, Julie C, Kev Payne, Zahra Strettle, Barry Allsop, Rob Strettle, Neil Armstrong and Sam Crooks.
full results list.
Congratulations to our juniors for retaining the Blyth Sportshall Athletics Series team trophy! Wallsend have topped the points table at all four rounds of this wonderful competition organised by Blyth Running Club.
In the individual competition, Amara, Kasper and Luke were crowned CHAMPIONS in their age categories, with Jessica finishing 3rd in the year 3 girls and Shay and Patrick finishing 2nd and 3rd in year 4, followed by Anthony who placed 3rd in year 7 and Mae and Martha finishing 2nd and 3rd place in year 8. To have nine athletes on the winners podium is a very impressive result, which illustrates the high calibre of multi-event athletes we have at the club, all thanks to the hard work put in by our coaches.
Many of our athletes have also set numerous records over the season – always improving and pushing themselves at each competition.
Big thanks goes to coaches Samantha Mallam, Stephen Sayer and Richard Pearson who have officiated/carried out several jobs at all four meetings. Also thanks to juniors Jadzia and Jack for their help supporting the younger athletes.
Great work everyone.