This season’s North East Harrier League opener was at Wrekenton, and it was cross-country but not as we know it. Where was the mud? Where was the wind? Where was the rain? Where was the cold? Instead we were treated to a mild autumn day and a ground so dry and hard that most runners opted not to use spikes – in fact road shoes would have been more appropriate!
This year, Claremont have representatives in the junior races with Duncan Scott’s children, Ben and Grace, registered for the under 11s. Grace made her debut at the tender age of 6 (she turns 7 in a few weeks) but was undeterred about running against girls who were up to 4 years older. It was a tremendously determined and gutsy run from young Grace as she finshed ahead of a lot of much older girls and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I think we have a future star in the making!
There were also 2 debutants in the Ladies’ team – Robyn Wynn and new member Sophie Lamb. Both did incredibly well. Whilst the ever reliable Sarah Bowen led the Claremont ladies home, the fast improving Robyn came home 2 places and only 1 second behind. Julie Cross, another of the cross-country stalwarts, was 3rd home with Sophie not far behind and catching all time. Showing the experience gained from representing Sevenoaks in Kent, Sophie ran a very steady first lap before progressing through the field on the 2nd for an excellent Claremont debut. I’m sure she will be looking forward to running on a proper North East winter’s day! Rose Hawkswood finished strongly (as ever) with Heidi Swaffield not far behind. The team was completed by Mandy Herworth who ran from the medium pack and couldn’t quite make up for the 2 minute handicap.
I’m less sure of what happened in the men’s race except for the fact that I tried to run an even pace and once again failed miserably, and that the hills are always steeper and longer on the 3rd lap! There was excellent support from the spectators and it was on the 3rd lap whilst being giving encouragement from Ian and Angela Kirtley of parkrun fame, I heard Angela say “The Claremont runners are quite close, aren’t they?” so I guessed that somebody was not far behind. It must have been David Lydall, another Harrier League debutant. Then, coming down the hill, I saw Duncan not too far ahead. That was how we stayed until the end. Howard MacLennan and David Devennie came in together and the team was completed by David Reay and Kenny McCormick.
Under 11 Girls
Ladies Senior and Vet
||31:25 (Medium pack, actual time 29:25)
Men’s Senior and Vets
Mention must be made of other Claremont members who represent other clubs in the Harrier League. This is the first year when over 65 men can run the 2 laps with the ladies instead of being in the men’s competition. Whilst not an official competition, Graham Leslie was first man home – well done, Graham!
The two Claremonters who run for Jarrow & Hebburn performed very well. Jonny Evans came 10th running from the medium pack in a time of 32:22 and Jonathan Gilroy was not that much slower in 35:00.