Tynedale Harriers senior men won an absorbing ‘race within a race’ at the Elswick Harriers Good Friday road relays held over a fast 2.2 mile circuit at Newburn Industrial Estate on Friday March 29th . A change in format from last years event did away with the under 17 race and left the way open for Tynedale’s talented junior squad to enter the open race and pit themselves against their older club-mates. In the end the senior team emerged victorious but by the slender margin of 2 seconds after more than 47 minutes of effort.
First up for the Tynedale teams were Fergus Robinson who has enjoyed a vintage season at under15 level with represntative honours for both county and region and Adam Pratt. Adam made the more conservative start as befits his experience. By halfway he had closed the gap on the fast starting youngster and set second leg runner Lea Stephenson off with a 35 second advantage on Ciaran Adamson running for the youth squad, in what was nominally a ‘B’ team. Ciaran has made an impressive debut season over the country and held the gap at 35 seconds to hand over to last week’s harrier league hero Ally Maxwell-Gray. Ally was up against former national triathlon champion Phil Jamieson and did well to limit his losses to a further 10 seconds.
With a gap of three-quarters of a minute the senior team anchored by Phil Thompson looked secureand by the time the juniors’ fourth runner, Jonny Currie had set off in pursuit Phil was a distant black spot in the distance. The course layout included 2 hairpin turns and two out-and-back loops and as a consequence the two runners had several opportunities to gauge the gap that separated them. Both were gaining places through the filed but after half a mile it was also clear that Jonny was closing. A determined effort in the middle section of the loop brought 16 year old Jonny within striking distance but Phil although running scared and had enough left to hold his pursuer at bay in the home stretch.
In the Junior Races the only Tynedale representative was Max Pearson. This was his first club race in the U15 age group and the majority of older runners on the start line towered over him. Never the less he was not intimidated and put in a great effort to finish in 3rd place in a time of 8.32 mins for the 1.62 mile course.