Aykley Heads x-country report

After a monumentally wet autumn and two cancelled x-countries as a result, a hardy bunch of green and golds were chomping at the bit to get their spikes into a whole lot of mud this November.

And a whole lot of mud they got (understatement of the year!) Aykley Heads’ reputation precedes it. It’s a tough course at the best of times but this season it reached unprecedented levels of squelchiness. The day was grim and there was a certain reluctance in the air but that didn’t stop an incredible turn out, accompanied by a kick a## flag to boot!

Just under 400 women went hurtling, sliding and trudging for approximately four miles (two laps). I think the only way to get through something like this is to just smile and embrace it. I laughed and smiled for the majority of lap one, watching and hearing runners near misses as well as giggling at my own. I must confess the second lap I wasn’t quite so elated, as the mud and hills (especially the one leading up to the wood) began to take their toll. I really felt for the poor men who followed, running three laps through an already churned up course as the skies went greyer and the temperature steadily decreased, whilst we wrapped ourselves up and took in tea and brownies.

It was a magnificent effort by all who took part, especially our x-country virgins who were seriously questioning their life choices that Saturday afternoon! A special mention must go to genuine x-country enthusiast Abbie Cresswell who took a spectacular tumble, face first, but simply picked herself up and kept running. What a woman!

The women continue to ride high in second place in Division 2 (can we make it another promotion this season?!?) and the men are a very respectable sixth place in Division 1.

Male counters were Joe Collins, Andy Wigmore, Andy Graham, Simon Lyon, John Firby and Adam Hamilton. Then Ian-James Elder, Iain Hall, Martin Crozier, Kevin Wilson, James Duthie, Dave Diston, followed by Tim Nicholson, Keith O’Donnell, Mick Lindsay, Alan Heslington and Darryl Roe.

Female counters were Elaine Ashton, Kirsty Fern (cracking first xc), Abbie Cresswell and Sarah Robson (storming it from the fast pack). Then Emma Plummer, Sam Crooks, Emily James and Nina Wilson. Kam Wright, Julie Collinson, Marion Dreano-Thwaite (making a welcome return to the club), Sarah Lynch (great to have her back) and Christine Stretesky.

Full results here.

The North Eastern XC Championships are at Alnwick on December 14th.

There’s the New Year Sherman Cup at Temple Parks in South Shields on Saturday 4th Jan (a great way to start the year as you mean to go on) and then the next Harrier league fixture is on Sunday 9th February at Thornley Hall Farm in Peterlee (if you liked Aykley Heads you’ll love this one)! Let’s keep the turn out and enthusiasm going!!!

No news yet on whether the other two cancelled fixtures will be replaced but we’ll keep you posted.