A sunny Alnwick welcomed runners to the penultimate Harrier League fixture of the season. The course here is tough, with a long climb from the riverside to a woodland ridge, but is in a stunning setting, overlooked by the castle and surrounded by rolling parkland. A couple of muddy sections added to the challenge but overall it was ideal running conditions, a stark contrast for those runners who had been at the Nationals the weekend before.
Of the senior men run of the day and first Tynedale home was Andy Green, who starting from the medium pack, tore through the field to finish in 13th place overall and 2nd fastest vet. This sees him promoted to the fast pack – the first time for a few years that we’ve had a fast pack runner as far as I can remember. A great achievement – and inspiring to see Andy’s steady return to form after his long break from running.
Chris Baber and Adam Pratt also ran strongly from the medium pack to finish among the six counters for the team; Chris was 2nd counter in 60th position and Adam 5th counter in 115th. Paul Hutchinson in 83rd place was 3rd counter, Mike Little, who seems to be getting stronger each race, was 100th and 4th counter and Keith Lombard, who is looking good again after a lay-off with an injury was 6th counter in 152nd place.
We were 5th team on the day out of the 2nd division which leaves us in joint 2nd place with Elswick on 19pts. So it all comes down to Prudhoe, our home fixture on 23rd March to see if we can clinch that second promotion spot. Keep your diaries free, take plenty of vitamin C to keep any colds at bay and make sure you’re in peak condition in three weeks time!
The women had another strong showing finishing as 4th placed team in the 1st division. The challenge for the Tynedale women is always the high proportion they have running from the fast pack. Four of the 12 fastest times of the day were from Tynedale atheletes, but with the 4 minute handicap it is hard to get back up into the high scoring positions. Tynedale benefited from welcoming Joanne Lee back to the team for her first cross country race of the season and she made full use of a start from the medium pack, finishing 4th overall with the 7th fastest time of the day. Kim Bluck was next Tynedale home in 24th place, followed by Jane Greening in 43rd, both running from the slow pack. Sonia Morley was the first of the trio of Tynedale ladies starting from the fast pack (45th and 9th fastest time of the day) followed by Kirstie Anderson (47th and 10th fastest time)and Karen Robertson (54th and 12th fastest time). Team captain Steph Scott flew down the final hill to finish in 66th position, a good run from the medium pack. The women have their work cut out to retain the championship trophy at Prudhoe and will hope to persuade some faster ‘slow pack’ runners to turn out on the day.
There were three Tynedale athletes in the under 11s race. Sarah Jackson was first Tynedale runner home in 19th position. (and 6th girl), with Catherine Little and Roisin Lally have a close battle in 36th and 37th places respectively. In the under 15 girls Rhianna Stoves was the only Tynedale representative, but she ran strongly from the fast pack, recording the 12th fastest time on the course. Tess Hartland and Annie Killen were our two runners in the Under 17 girls race. Both finished at the back of a small but competitive field but looked strong on the final descent to the finish. In the Under 13 girls Sophie Speed running from the slow pack held of the challenge from Elena Bluck chasing from the fast pack to finish as first Tynedale, behind Elan Freya Murphy (slow) and Francesca Harrison (fast) came in just a second apart.
Team performance of the day for Tynedale was from the Under 13 boys, with a 2nd place finish behind a strong Morpeth team, and this was without star Max Pearson who retired shortly after the start feeling ill. We had seven runners in this category. First Tynedale home, making his debut for the club was Edward McClean. Edward looked very comfortable and composed, finishing in 6th place, earning him promotion to the fast pack for the next fixture. Next Tynedale home with a blistering run from the fast pack was Christopher Jackson, finishing in 10th place with the 3rd fastest time of the day. Close behind and third team counter was Patrick Lally in 11th place running from the slow pack. Other Tynedale runners were Gabriel Morley looking good in just his second race in this age category, Fabian Byron, Sam Myers and Jo Green.
The Under 15 boys did well too, with 3rd placed team overall. They almost didn’t have a third counter, with Ben Pickett arriving at the field just in time to join the fast pack (his fellow slow pack runners had already left). First Tynedale was Jonathon Anderson in 11th place (8th fastest time of the day) and second was Dominic Morley in 24th, both running from the fast pack.
The under 17 boys bettered this with another 2nd placed team finish. Ciaran Adamson (2nd overall, slow pack), Toby Routledge (14th, fast pack) and George Sanderson (19th, also fast pack) were the three counters.
Last Harrier League fixture of the season is at Prudhoe Community High School on 23 March. This is hosted by our club and can only work with lots of club members and friends and family helping out. Volunteers are required for marking the course and course marshaling (contact Mike Broadhurst), car park marshaling (contact Marcus Byron) and providing refreshments (cakes can be brought along to the school on the day).