There was something most un-cross-country-like about the weather at the season opener on Saturday. East Cramlington lay bathed in warm sunshine, and swarming with confused runners asking ‘Where’s the rain? They said there would be mud. It’s not even windy!’
It certainly was swarming too; 1352 runners competed across all categories. The Poly provided a creditable 95 of those runners. The main challenge on the day was from the weather, but unusually for XC, it was the heat.
The Under-11s were first off round the undulating course, with Lily Robson leading the Poly charge, and Kirsty Nash not far behind. In the Under-13 boys’ race, Thomas Sursham had a fantastic run and came in second, with Josh Collinson not far behind in a decent fourth place. The Under-15 boys’ race saw Jake Hill and Sam Petty turn out for the club, while in the Under-15 girls’ race, Isobel Robinson came in 5th, with Ellie Green also running well. Jacky Penn continued her run of good form with a decent performance from the fast pack in the Under-17 and Under-20 girls’ rave, with Emily Cairns also doing well.
Captain Lucy Robinson led out an impressive team of 29 runners for the senior womens’ race, and had a cracking run from the fast pack herself. Gina Rutherford meanwhile did herself and the club proud, with a fine third-place finish. Impressive runs from Louise Hayes, Leah Davison and others too numerous to mention left the Poly sitting in second place in the top division, just a few points behind Tyne Bridge.
45 men turned out for the Poly meanwhile, with notably quick runs from both Ross Butcher and Paul West (rumour has it that Ross had spotted his hairdresser in the distance). Scott Ellis meanwhile, running from the medium pack, was fastest Poly man on the day, while William Robson celebrated his first senior XC league race for the club with a fine run. Captain Vaughan Hemy also put in a good performance, after a long break from XC.
Ron Stewart deserves a special mention for giving up his Saturday to provide encouragement and advice around the course (your humble writer was hoping for an easy jog round, but saw Ron and had to pick up the pace a little). Barry Young was also on hand to provide his own unique brand of motivational chat. Thanks to both of them, and to everyone else who provided support, encouragement and general shouting. Thanks are also due to those who set up and took down the tent, and of course the cake-bakers; the cakes probably merit a whole separate report in fact.
It was great to see so many Poly vests on the day, and so many people making their XC debut. It’s not always as warm and sunny as that mind! We’re back in action on Saturday the 25th of October, in the Sherman Cup/Davison Shield, at Temple Park in South Shields. It would be great if you could join us (sign up at the clubhouse beforehand please!) It just remains to say thanks to Captains Ian Woodward, Lucy Robinson and Vaughan Hemy for organising us all, and to Peter Gallagher for documenting the day with some fantastic photos. See you next time! Up the Poly!
Full results from the race can be found here
Photo courtesy of Peter Gallagher