“Never, never, never give up.”
From the words of Churchill to the sacred grounds of Churchill, together we threw, jumped and ran for our lives. Ok, a bit dramatic perhaps, but we did do it to cling fiercely onto our place in the dizzy heights of division two in the Northern Athletics Track & Field League.
This season we held our own against the best clubs in the North East: Leeds, Gateshead, Morpeth, Middlesbrough and Harrogate. It’s no mean feat for a relatively small club, but together with our teammates at Blyth we showed them what us green and golds and whites are made of!
Over the past four meets it has been great to see some newer members come and try their hand (and feet) at track and field events. For a lot of us, it hasn’t been familiar territory since school. And I know that can put a lot of people off, but honestly, speaking as someone who is always a reluctant but willing volunteer, I can say (hand on heart) that it’s always a great day.
No one cares if you come last, you will be cheered on like a hero and earn us a vital point, the kind that can be the difference between staying up and going down. The other clubs are really friendly. I ended up doing long jump on Saturday, which is well outside of my comfort zone, but the lovely elites from Gateshead made me feel so at ease, even helping me mark out my run up. And I enjoyed it so much, not to mention the thrill of watching the best doing their thing. It’s pretty inspiring. I must mention Karen Livermore who, having run a 10k in the morning, hot footed it down to make sure we had a participant in the high jump!
The other event I wasn’t expecting to be part of was the 4x100m relay. It filled me with dread as I lined up against a bunch of athletic, teenage girls terrified I would drop the baton in very soggy conditions. But, for I’m guessing 12 seconds of my life ?,I was Dina Asher-Smith, giving it absolutely everything on that final leg to the roar of the crowd. What a buzz!
Jen and Abbie have showed they are a force to be reckoned with in the 3000m this season and Adam blasted his way to the hurdling history books, leaving the competition for dust (ok, he might have been the only competitor but what a performance!) Our determined middle-distance runners were Jess, Sarah, Simon, Jordan, Tony, Andy and Martin. Jess took a good 15 seconds off her previous 1500m time too!
Denver is divine in the steeplechase and Daniel and Peter were champions of the long jump. We couldn’t have done it without our young sprinters Adam Swalwell, Jakob, Josh, Henry, David F, Erin, Courtney, Elena, Chloe and Katherine.
The mighty Paul Corrigan always shows us how it’s done in the throwing events, teaming up with David Swalwell, David McGarry, Matthew Fairhurst and Richard Bickerton. I have to give major high fives to our female track and field stalwarts Christine, Julie W and Gemma who will literally get stuck into any event to earn us vital points.
I really hope I haven’t missed anyone off. Please forgive me if I have. We’re so proud of each and everyone of you who took part this season. Just think how we’d do if everyone came out and did just one event at one meet (out of four). We are an athletics club after all and it’s a great way of giving something back to the club, doing your bit and feeling the joy of being part of a phenomenal team. Think about it for next year won’t you? We’d love to have you.
Enormous thanks to our track and field captain Paddy, who sadly couldn’t be with us on Saturday due to prior beer-drinking commitments in Paris ?. Thanks also to everyone who helped us to host at the last event at Churchill on Saturday, especially Craig, Christine, Bill and Elaine (who I believe is still drinking Gin to recover!) And to our supporters of course! Those extra cheers make all the difference.
There’s not long to bask in our glory before the glorious x-country season is upon us. So stick these dates in your diaries now. Don’t worry if you can’t do them all but do get stuck in whenever you can. It’s an absolute blast and I just know we can be victorious over mud as well!
X-Country North Eastern Harrier League:
28th September – Wrekenton
6th October – Druridge Bay
26th October – Venue tbc
23rd November – Aykley Heads
4th January – Temple Park
8th February – Thornley Hall Farm
29th February – Alnwick Castle