New Season – North East Harrier League
A record-breaking number of runners competed in the NEHL season opener at Wrekenton on Saturday. 1735 athletes of all ages, from across the North East, pulled on their spikes, but kept their feet surprisingly dry after a week of near constant rain.
41 members of Tynedale Harriers took part, earning the club 2 medals and plenty of promotions. Tynedale’s stand-out performance of the day was from Charlie Daley who took the gold medal in the highly competitive U17 boys’ race, earning himself promotion to the fast pack as a result. Harrison Cutler joined him in that race, and narrowly avoided promotion with an impressive 10th place finish.
In the U17 Girls/U20 women’s race, Kate Salthouse took bronze, and a promotion to the fast pack. Rebecca Wren was 21st, from the fast pack.
In the U15 age category, Tynedale fielded a full team in the boys’ race, with Ralph Robson first to finish for the club. He stormed through half of the field from the fast pack, to cross the line in 29th. Oliver Lowe was second counter for the team in 34th and Thomas Hindle in 52nd. Jess Sails was the only Tynedale competitor in the U15 girls’ race. She finished in 41st from the fast pack.
Tynedale had a strong presence in the U13 girls’ race, with 5 runners in the black vest. Maria Gaines and Kate Terry both ran well from the slow pack to finish well up the field in 6th and 9th places respectively, earning themselves promotion to the fast pack. Tabitha Robson was the 3rd scorer for the team, crossing the line in 47th from the fast pack. Poppy Watson and Isabel Gaines completed the team. Alex Hanlon was the only Tynedale representative in the U13 boys’ race, finishing 42nd.
In the supposedly non-competitive U11s boys’ race, Marcus Riddell raced around the course to finish 5th in a field of almost 100 runners! Morgan Vincent also had great run in that race.
In the 6-mile senior men’s race, there was a record turnout for Tynedale, with 17 men racing in the black vest. With such strength in numbers, the Tynedale team was rewarded for its efforts with 3rd place in Division Three, making a really positive start to the season. This is an encouraging change to recent years, when the club has often struggled to field a full team of 6 runners.
First counter for Tynedale was John O’Reilly who crossed the line in 39th in a huge field of 666 runners. He clocked the second fastest time of the day in the MV55 category. Next to score was Phil Vincent in 61st. Both men will be promoted to the medium pack. Joe Green, running in his first senior men’s cross-country, was next to count, in 123rd. Rob Earle (133rd), Lewis Balfour (165th) and Paul Hutchinson (191st) were the final scorers for Tynedale. Alex Tang, Andy Green (fast pack), Mike Little, Peter Murphy, Hugh Bingham, Pete Watson, Ed Yuill, Ian Southby, Paul Edwin, Phil Boylin and Chris Young also raced for the club, with several runners making their cross-country debut.
A record-breaking 499 runners lined up for the women’s race. Kirstie Anderson made light work of her handicap from the medium pack, to race through the field and finish in 11th to be first counter for Tynedale. Second scorer for the club was Charlie Pinkney, who had a tremendous run to finish in 42nd. Both women will be promoted to fast and medium packs respectively. Kate Lowe, running from the medium pack, just managed to overtake Carol Marshall in the final stages of the race. They finished in 149th and 153rd respectively and were the final scorers for the team. Also running for Tynedale in the women’s race were Kim Bluck, Steph Bingham, Jennifer McDonald and Joanne Murphy.
The runners get a very short break before the second fixture of the season, which is at Druridge Bay on Sunday (October 6th).