Picture courtesy of Paul Richardson
Was it only a week ago we were dashing merrily round the course at Aykley Heads, enjoying a few gentle inclines and the odd patch of mud? It was, but just seven days on we were back in action at the impressively picturesque Wallington Hall course. Some of us had barely scraped last week’s mud from our spikes (or knees, elbows, faces, backs) before going at it again.
Northumberland had been experiencing rain for a good part of the preceding week, so it was no surprise that a quick recce of the course revealed a number of muddy areas. Other than that, the course is notable for a number of wooded areas, and a rather epic sweep of countryside when first exiting those woods. This is followed by a slightly hairy downhill dash, best managed with equal parts momentum, optimism and daftness. As XC runners will know, what goes down must also go painfully, breathlessly back up, in this case over a savagely steep stepped section through the woods. Some will remember this course from last year; thoughtfully the organisers had added an extra section just after the (uphill) start, making the lap distance for seniors up to 2.1 miles.
The Under-11 boys were first to go, with Josh Blevins, Harry Robson and Archie Pennington all doing well. The club was well represented by the Under-11 girls too, notably by Kirsty Nash, Lily Robson and India Hill. Josh Collinson, Thomas Sursham, Mark Nash, and Freja Smith all turned out for the club at Under-13 level, while Jake Hill, Isobel Robinson and Eira Hegarty did so for the Under-15s. Alix Pennington, meanwhile, ran for the Under 17 girls.
Picture courtesy of Hippie Nixon Photography – Sporting Memories
It’s been a fine season so far for the senior Poly women, and the girls continued their good form this weekend. Gina Rutherford got a top ten finish, despite running from the fast pack. Twenty-seven women ran for the Poly overall, and there were plenty of fine performances–too many in fact to mention them all all of them individually. Kate Dyson and Leah Davison did very well, while Angela Green made an impressive medium pack debut. Despite several strategically-placed photographers around the course, there was to be no repeat of Karen Foster’s acrobatic antics as displayed at Aykley Heads. The results left the Poly women 2nd in their league table, according to the Harrier League site.
Thirty-eight men turned out for the club, including Guy Bracken, recently returned from England duty. Guy finished in an impressive third place. William Robson also did well, and there were good medium-pack finishes from John Baty and Paul West. Parkrun star Greg Penn also turned out for the club, while Ross Butcher managed to combine a decent run with some top-drawer gurning for the cameras. Going by the photos I’ve seen, finish of the day has to go to Paul Richardson.
Picture courtesy of Peter Gallagher
There will be no more Harrier League action until the 17th of January then, when we reconvene at Bedewell Park, Jarrow. In the meantime, we have the North-Easterns on the Town Moor on the 13th of December, then the excellent Durham Cathedral Relays on Sunday 11th of January (list on the board at the clubhouse; as Mrs Doyle would say, ‘Go on, go on’).
Thanks as ever go the organisers, marshals, captains, tent-crew, and the noisy supporters from around the course. Here are the results, and also the current tables. Well done to all who took part, thanks for reading, and up the Poly!