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Lord Lawson of Beamish

by Val Baxter

November 24, 2014

Aykley Heads Harrier League 2014

Things are looking up, when I arrived at the County Hall on Saturday morning, it was dry and the car park ‘ushers’ said we were only 300 m from the start area. So, my chauffeur and I packed up, she was laden with flags, bags and seats, and I was to carry the tent. What they didn’t say, when we asked for a good parking slot, was that it was up stairs and up a muddy hill to the start. On crutches that isn’t easy !! Never mind Jamie came along and shared the load for me and we arrived at the start in one piece.

Racing (in the form of running that is) seems to really have taken off since the Olympics, cos the under 11 races just seem to get bigger every time (74 boys and 79 girls this time out). The venue was where the CYP used to hold their county championships. It is a great venue, with the council allowing competitors to use their County Hall parking facility free of charge.

As my mobility is somewhat restricted, I didn’t get round the course, but what I saw looked really good. Plenty of hills, and a good sized lap, so there shouldn’t have been too many people getting lapped, save for the senior men’s race that was 3 laps. However there were narrow parts where passing wasn’t easy (so I am told).

I actually didn’t see many of the races (too busy gassing probably – Val), I noticed there were a lot of junior athletes out, which is always good to see, and Adrian did tell me there was a good competitive finish between Dillon and Matty that he had enjoyed watching. Olivia Bateman made a good return after injury, finishing second in her first race of the season.

The senior women race seems to increase every time also and once again Birtley fielded a strong team, Lorna Graham running herself into the next group, fast pack I believe (a feat that would have been matched by her daughter Tess if the u11’s ran in packs, as she finished 7th out of 79 runners – Val). It was a two lap race for the senior women, they all agreed that it was a hard course; very hilly, just about downhill on the way out, and uphill on the way back…then the same again!

The senior men’s race saw 12 starters (including Jeff Johnston’s inaugural harrier run), with Conna making a return following a break due to injury. Said it was a hard one to come back on. Tom Goulding had a good run, in fact he won the race outright from the slow pack (Evening Chronicle article here). Just goes to show all slow pack runners aren’t slow. Gets a bit harder next time though, running from the medium pack, but I am sure you will do fine 😉


All in all, a great event/venue. I hope it will be run again next year and that I can take part! If I cannot take part I hope they put a burger van on the road at the side :)


Results can be seen on the Harrier League website, and photos can be seen on both flickr (Karen Newton) and Facebook (Robert Hippie Lee Nixon)(George Routledge) – junior pics can be seen on SI events website although these are for purchase only (watermarked).

Posted in Race report 3 years ago Permalink


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