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Lord Lawson of Beamish

by Val Baxter

December 15, 2013

North Eastern Cross Country Championships 2013

This year’s competition was hosted by South Shields Harriers, and took place at Temple Park on Saturday 14th December. The course, undulating with some tight turns, was made more challenging by the very windy conditions on the day, and our athletes did very well to cope with the strong gusts which threatened to blow them off course on occasion. Keeping the club tent in an uncollapsed position also proved quite problematic throughout the day, with athletes suddenly finding the tent roof on their heads on more than one occasion – more pop-down than pop-up!

First race of the day was the u13 Boys, and this is their 3.1K course map:-
u13 course

Louis Gill and Dillon Openshaw were the lucky two lads who got to brave the chilly conditions first, and both finished the 3.1K course in under 13 and a half minutes, which is fantastic – full results here.

Next up were the u13 girls, the largest group of Birtley athletes in the younger age groups. First of the Birtley girls over the line was Lea Brown, despite suffering a bout of sickness after the race, and she was followed by Sophie Bell and Molly Elliott in quick succession, with Macey Bradshaw and Grace Curtis finishing in fine style for the club. Full u13 girls results here.

u15 course – 3.9K
u15 course

Kieran Taylor was the sole Birtley runner in this race, and he ran the distance in great form, finishing in exactly 18 minutes. His race was followed by the u15 girls, with three Birtley girls taking part. Lola Tindle also finished in exactly 18 minutes, closely followed by Rhianne Bell with Laura Kelly being last of the Birtley girls (but by no means least) to enter the finish funnel – well done on a tough race girls (and boy!). Full boys results here and girls here.

u17/u20 womens course – 4.7K
u17 women

The next race was the combined u17/u20 womens race, with Birtley providing a very strong team. Lydia Turner again showed her recent form, winning the race by a ridiculously large margin of over a minute and a half, with Sophie Burnett just missing out on a silver by 2 seconds to Philippa Stone. Robyn Waugh finished in 6th position, ensuring team gold for the Birtley u17 ladies, with Anna Fawcett also finishing strongly in 9th place. Lydia and Sophie have now also qualified for places on the inter-county squad, well done ladies! Here are Lydia and Sophie on the podium, receiving their individual medals along with silver placed Philippa Stone.

Camera latest 109

In the concurrent u20 competition, Sophie Forster finished very well in 6th place, with Paige Gilhespy crossing the line in 14th place to complete the duo of Birtley finishers in this age group, well done ladies. Full results here.

u20 mens course – 2 laps, 8.4K u20 mens course

Although Birtley only had 2 athletes entered in the u20 mens race, both have been performing well and there were high hopes of a medal. Adrian Bailes, still fighting off the remains of a cold, performed strongly to come home in third place, gaining a prized bronze medal and a place in the inter-counties team. Conna Carruthers also performed well, finishing in the top half of a very competitive field. Full results can be seen here.

Adrian Bailes on the podium

Adrian Bailes on the podium

Next to set off was the biggest field of the competition (361 runners), the senior men, running a massive 12.4K (3 laps of the u20s course shown above). This was a long and tough course, and the strain was evident on the faces of many of the men as they slogged past for the third and final lap! Neil Allan put in a fantastic performance to finish in 59th place with a time of 46:38, with Keith Robertshaw placing just outside the top 100 at 49:09.

Peter Gill took Birtley’s third place looking comfortable, followed closely by Dave Coulson who looked to be digging in hard, and then Mark Bell put in a strong performance to finish a minute ahead of Dave Cleugh and Trevor Crewe. Brian Bailes was just happy to finish, following hip problems associated with his marathon training, and Pedro did well to shake off the after effects of a bad cold earlier in the week, to bring up the rear for Birtley. Full mens results here.

The second last race of the championships saw a full Birtley ladies team take to the field, running an identical course to the u20 men (8.4K). Tracy Millmore put in a fine performance, but was aware from the start she was up against some very stiff competition, including renowned local runners Aly Dixon, Rosie Smith and Alexandra Snook, and was very pleased with her sixth place finish. Ruth Dadswell, taking part in her first North Eastern champs, looked strong throughout, and finished in a fantastic 39th place, just beating another first timer, Lorna Graham, who also put in a great performance to finish 41st, beating off a Gateshead harrier who tried (and failed!) to overtake her in the finishing funnel. The ladies team finished in 7th place overall – well done ladies! Full ladies results here.

Under 17 mens course – 6.1K (2 laps) u17 mens course

The last race of the day, the u17s, featured a single Birtley athlete, Tom Goulding, who put in a blazing performance to finish in a tremendous second place, winning both a silver medal and a place on the inter-counties team. Full results here.

Here is Tom on the podium, along with gold medallist Nathan Cox, and bronze placed Oliver Watson. Camera latest 131

So, overall a really successful day for Birtley AC with a gold, a silver, and two bronzes, plus a gold team cup (and let’s not forget the cookies, chili chocolate and shortbread in the club tent!) – well done to ALL who competed, no matter where you finished – as the saying goes, it’s the taking part that’s important, and anyone completing that course, in those conditions, deserves high praise indeed! Congratulations!

More pictures from the day can be seen on our Flickr page
North Eastern Champs 2013

North Eastern Champs 2013

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