Vet Ladies Excel at Durham Relays

Two women’s teams from Tynedale Harriers enjoyed the January sunshine by the river in Durham last weekend at the first cross country event of 2013. This year’s popular Cathedral Relays boasted a record number of entries, with 70 women’s teams competing (double last year’s entry) as well as 122 men’s teams. Each team comprises three runners who must all complete two 1.5km laps of the fast, flat grass course.
In theory our teams were at a disadvantage from the start as the medals are awarded in Vet35 and Vet45 age groups, yet Tynedale’s women actually run in the V40 and V50 age categories, which means that they were competing against runners several years younger than them. This did not seem to deter them as both teams were defending medals from last year in their respective categories, so it was all to play for!

Kirstie Anderson and Steph White lined up for Tynedale Harriers for the first leg. The race was led out at a frantic pace by international runner Rosie Smith from Durham who covered the 3000m course in 9.06 which was the fastest time of the day. She was on fine form having just returned from representing Great Britain at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country. Kirstie paced herself well and ran strongly through the field finishing in 10.33 which placed the team 2nd in the V35 to 44 age group after the first leg. Karen Robertson was the second leg runner & she managed to reduce the gap on the leading Elswick team, running 10.47 for the 2 laps, before handing over to Steph Scott for the final leg. As all the senior and veteran women’s teams were running at the same time, it was difficult to gauge the progress of both teams throughout the event due to the number of runners and how spread out the field became. Lynne Marr headed out on leg 2 for Tynedale’s V45+ team, running a strong race to hand over to Jan Oliver for the anchor leg.

Meanwhile, Steph Scott was trying to pass as many athletes as possible on her two laps and hoping that the team would finish in a medal winning position. After 10 minutes and 53 seconds, her final lap was complete and all that lay ahead was the long wait for the results! There were so many runners that, despite the best efforts of the organisers, it took a long time to confirm the results. Tynedale’s V35+ team were pleased to be awarded the NE Veterans’ Championship Silver medals for their performance, beaten by a very good (and younger!) team from Elswick Harriers. They finished 8th overall out of 70 women’s teams, but most impressive of all was that the Tynedale ladies posted the fastest three times of the day in the V40 age category!
Unfortunately there was no medal this year for our V45+ team but they performed strongly on the day against much younger opposition.
Steph Scott & Kim Bluck

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