I’d previously taken part in the North East Master’s Cross Country two years ago, when the course was from the base at Howdon Boys’ Club up towards North Tyneside College and the Coast Road then back. This time the course was completely different-though I understand it was similar to the original course of many years ago. Being a somewhat last minute person-though I did arrive in time to screw the correct spikes into my shoes and visit the toilet-I hadn’t bothered to check out the course route. So it was quite a surprise to me to see runners (Female and Over 60 Male) gathering on the opposite side of the road to the Boys’ Club. Even greater was the surprise when I ran found myself following the others past the war memorial and down into the Burn (Burn Closes).
The route took us through some woodland, down a path then onto a wider path at the bottom of the valley. Some runners were wearing trail shoes and it was debateable which was best. I had to run on the wide grass verge next to the path but those with trail shoes could run on the tarmac. However once it came to the ascents and descents those with trail shoes seemed to be struggling to keep their hold on the muddy track, and spikes seemed to be better.
After the path the route took us back up the hill after a sharp turn, then we ran down and under the road bridge and back up the other side of it. There was quite a lot of sliding on the second lap-some people fell down and some fell up but most people kept their feet. I had my eye on a woman called Sue. I knew this from her running vest. I also knew she was in my age category as according to NEMAAA rules you have to wear your age on your back, rather like an old donkey! Anyway, after the first lap I managed to get past Sue but then spent the next lap seeing how near she was (handy on upward hills in that you can look back). Ultimately Sue didn’t catch me thankfully. After the race I was amazed to buy a cup of tea for 30p! Obviously Wallsend prices. This has got to take the prize as the cheapest cup of tea in any clubhouse in the North East. Unless you know different.
Once again the Poly women did well, going home with several medals. Carla Maley was second in the race overall and first L35+. Karen Gunn was 1st L50+ and Katie Jones 3rd L50+. Noreen Rees was 2nd L60+. Because of this Poly collected medals in the team prizes with Carla Maley, Karen Gunn and Lourdes Bradley taking the L35+Gold prize and Katie Jones, Karen Loughney and Noreen Rees taking the L45+ Silver team prize.
The photo shows some of the prizewinners with their medals-l to r Karen Loughney, Noreen Rees, Lourdes Bradley and Karen Gunn.
You can see the full results for Race 1 here-
In Race 2, the men’s 35 t0 64 age category there were 8 Poly athletes and the competition-particularly from Morpeth and Sunderland-was very fierce but Rob Walker picked up a silver medal in the M45 category. Race 2 results can be viewed here-