January 27, 2014
This was never going to be a good day for me. Early mornings aren’t my favourite things over the weekends, so a 6:30 departure from Birtley would never go down well!! The bus was there waiting for us when the 5 of us arrived (5 because I was renting a space on my drive for my mate……Saturday is car wash day at our place, and I think she was secretly hoping …). The coach was canny except for a design flaw. The ledge on the windows wasn’t flat so when you leaned on it you fell off, but luckily I can sleep on a clothes line and it wasn’t a major problem!
The journey down was OK, and including a 20 minute comfort break it took about 3 1/4 hours to get there, and although the first race was 11:00 we arrived at 09:45 and there weren’t many people there before us.
The first ‘funny thing’ was when we erected the tent. Well threw it up in the air and it erected itself. Mmmmmm! Wonder why there are only 3 tent pegs. Actually we tied the tent to a fence but when the wind got up, it stopped being funny. There had to be someone stay with the tent constantly, because even with all the rubbish left in the tent..again…there still wasn’t enough ballast to keep it on the ground.
I walked the course with Dave Cleugh, and it was a big route, actually 2 1/2 mile laps. A very boggy down hill, then uphill through the same boggy bits then two loops, then the last bit was firm…for about 200 metres, then start again (twice more for the main event).
There was a really good start for Birtley when the under 17 ladies won the team silver medal in the first race. Sophie Burnett finished in a cracking 7th place, followed very quickly by Philippa Chambers. Danielle Elliott was next over the line, and Robyn Waugh ensured their medal position – well done girls.
Paige Gilhespy was the lone representative for Birtley u20s – Adrian said she had run very well.
No senior women runners from Birtley…I think it was too cold for them! (I wonder if they edit that bit out???)(He’s right – it WAS too cold for me anyway – Editor).
Next race we had was the u13 girls, and the biggest field of the day for Birtley with five of our keen young athletes taking on the challenge of the mud drenched course. First of the Birtley girls over the line was Lea Brown, followed by Molly Elliott and Sophie Bell. Macey Bradshaw was next, and last but by no means least was Bethan Frazer-Denham, running her first Northerns XC.
Tom Goulding was the sole u17 lad for the club and seemed to do ok, but as ever with Tom, cos he sets himself such high targets, afterwards he said he wasn’t happy with what he had done.
I believe the next race was Louis Gill, the only junior lad running. I didn’t see his race, but his dad said ‘he did ok’.
Kate Waugh put in a great performance winning the u15 girls race, setting off and leading from the gun, a sterling performance. The next Birtley girl to cross the line was Lola Tindle, with Rhianne Bell coming in shortly afterwards – some great performances in difficult conditions. Unfortunately at this point the weather took a distinct turn for the worst, and pictures are few and far between since visibility was so poor at times.
The field was starting to get worse now with every race. To make it more like x-country it poured, just in time for Conna and Kieran (running for Chester le Street) to run in the u20s race. Kieran seemed happy after his race, however Conna is looking forward to the track season!
As mentioned previously, Birtley had no senior women competing, but we did cheer on Heather Robinson (Jarrow and Hebburn) since she, along with her husband Geoff, travelled down on the team bus and was therefore awarded temporary membership status! She ran a great race, just missing out on a medal place for Jarrow by 19 seconds, to finish in 66th place and an impressive time of 36:56.
By the time the main event came round, in places the mud was a foot deep, and in some places it was magnetic mud, like at Newark in the 90’s. There were 4 of us running, I know we were never hoping to get a team prize, but we didn’t even have enough for a team. Just to give you an idea, my first mile was almost 2minutes slower than the second……on all three laps. That was the difference between downhill in mud and uphill in mud!! Anyway we got through to the end but not much more than that!!
First of the Birtley men to survive the mud was Peter Gill, followed shortly afterwards by Mark Bell, both putting in strong performances despite the mud. Dave Cleugh strode just behind Mark, while yours truly brought up the rear.
It was awful trying to take the tent down in the mud, but we managed to find a dry room to change in, and thankfully we came home without stopping at the services. We arrived home about 8:45 tired after a long day out.
While I was away Linda and Mark washed the cars, but moved the visiting car to make space and actually didn’t wash it…….that was harsh!!! Never mind maybe next time, sorry!!
Full results can be seen here.
PS I am now back in the good books having successfully unblocked and repaired the washing machine, however I don’t think I am allowed to run x-country anymore if it is muddy!!
Posted in Race report 4 years ago