This report comes courtesy of Roger Mosedale.
Monday evening-time to curl up on the sofa and recover from the horrors of that first day back at work. Double Corrie on the telly to snooze through, and not much else to do. Unless it’s a Monday evening in mid-August of course. If so, then you can dig out those spikes, knock off the dried crust of mud from March, and meet your Poly mates for an evening of relay-related fun down Durham way.
As many of you will know, XC is a sport best attempted in cold, wet conditions, which makes the August relays a bit of an oddity. Cross country on a warm summer’s evening, with the sun setting over ancient Durham? Luckily, such an incongruous scene was avoided this year, as repeated showers kept many athletes huddled in the pavilion for warmth, shelter and coffee.
The course isn’t one you could call rugged, involving as it does two laps of a cricket pitch, with a bump at one end.
However, that bump is pretty steep, and on the second lap it can be something of a challenge. Your correspondent at least managed to stay just about upright on the way up this year. last year I found myself going up on all fours. Also, despite the apparent simplicity of the course, a couple of Poly runners got lost last summer, and found themselves running into the finish funnel after just one lap. Would they get it right this year?
The Juniors were first to run, with Jake Hill, Mark Nash and Josh Collinson finishing the race in a creditable 17:51; all the more impressive when you consider that this was a U15 team featuring two U13s!
The vets’ (sorry, ‘Masters’) race started in another shower. 11 teams running for the Poly meant a plethora of red vests, all competing as keenly with each other as the opposition. John Baty, Chris Waite and Ian Twaddle carved out a fine third place finish, with the ‘Twaddler’ being the only sub-10 minute finisher in the race. The Poly also picked up first place for mixed teams , with Paul West, Michael Garrard and Alison Dixon (who didn’t get lost this year) finishing in 34:29.
Suzanne Thew, Helen Johnson and Karen Foster also won the first place veteran women’s prize, with Claire Twaddle, Natalie Thorburn and Angela Green picking up second place in the same category. It was great too to see several athletes making their cross-country debut in a Poly shirt, including James Blevins (who’s clearly had enough of son Josh getting all the XC glory) Ian Ross and Phil Parker. There was great support around the course too from, amongst others, Lois Tack (who was ‘kind’ enough to park herself at the top of that hill with a camera…er, thanks Lois!) Lucy Robinson and Vicky Houghton.
It would be criminal to finish without a mention for cap’n Vaughan Hemy, who certainly put in a shift behind the scenes. He deserves a pat on the back (and several pints) for organising and supporting the teams, and making sure the Poly picked up a good fistful of prizes (17 out of 49!). The results and many photos are available here (http://www.durhamcityharriers.org.uk/events-fixtures/summer-relays/), along with more photos on the club’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/9974713828/10152673268963829/?ref=notif¬if_t=group_activity).
If the race has given you a taste for cross-country, remember that the North East Harrier League begins on Saturday October the 11th at East Cramlington Nature Reserve. Watch this site, and the Facebook page, for details on how to register nearer the time.
Hope to see you there. Up The Poly!