What an absolute nail-biting belter of a cross country season we’ve had this year! With a slow start from the women in the autumn (and I don’t mean slow in speed, but sluggish in numbers), and relegation from division one on the cards they soon rallied round and came out in force for the last big two – Thornley Hall Farm and Alnwick. We knew who we had to beat, but it wasn’t going to be easy.
Last season there was just a point keeping us from relegation but could we do it again this year? Too blummin’ right we could! With bells on! Everyone gave it their absolute all, and not only did we finish third on the day but we finished the season comfortably in seventh place (same as the men!) with another two women promoted to the fast pack – Emily and Sarah Robson (who had dragged herself from her sick bed to play a crucial part in our success). Our women’s captain had an unbelievable season. Only a few months on from having gorgeous baby Jack and Jen was back in the fast pack and still finishing top 20 at Alnwick, what a legend. Our head coach and chair Paddy said what we did was inspirational. It was an absolute privilege to be a part of it, and I’m sure (with consistent high numbers front the start) we can continue our success next season.
A massive congratulations to the men who turned out in their droves meet after meet, pushing themselves through a gruelling three laps every time, usually just as the weather takes a turn and after the women have churned up the course good and proper. I don’t think I would have a third lap in me so hats off to them. Finishing a very commendable seventh position in division one against some fierce competition, they set the standard for us women every season. And the support they gave us at Alnwick was second to none. Thank-you fellas.
And as if that wasn’t enough of a high to finish on…
We’d barely come down from the elation of the victorious Harrier league xc season when the British Athletics Masters XC Championships came a calling. Back on home turf at the Rising Sun Country Park, our vet crew were back out to show age is just a number. Finally we had some proper mud to sink our spikes into and some warm spring weather. Our chaps put in a sterling performance with Mark Covell, Andy Wigmore and Iain Hall coming in as top 10 team. James Duthie, Simon Charlton, Keith O’Donnell and Tom Nightingale looked like they were making light work of the tough three-lap course. Sorry fellas though, but it was all about the glory girls again. Without even realising it (having left before the awards ceremony got under way) our women only went and bagged themselves a silver medal! Emily James, Sarah Robson and Elaine Ashton were our first team, with fantastic performances also from comeback kid Stacey Davidson (how can she even be a vet?!), Kirsty Fearn and Laura Stout.
I don’t know about you but my legs need a rest now! Then it’s back to road race season and then, can you believe it, track and field again! We need sprinters, distance runners, throwers and jumpers for the following dates please (I don’t want to be doing my usual heptathlon ladies, I’m getting too old for this!)
Saturday 20th May (Shildon)
Sunday 18th June (Churchill, Whitley Bay)
Sunday 9th July (Monkton)
Saturday 19th July (Middlesbrough)