NEHL Alnwick, 29th February 2020

After all the recent cancellations, the cross-country season got back underway at Alnwick, even though Storm Jorge was beginning to flex its muscles. It was clear that wind was going to be a problem as we fought to keep the cars in a straight line as we drove up the A1, but at least we didn’t have to cope with flooding!

It was a revamped course, maintaining a couple of the loops that we used for the NE Champs, but losing a stretch along the flat past the castle. This made it longer and hillier than before – and I think it was already the longest of the Harrier League courses. Considering the recent weather, conditions were excellent with only a few muddy stretches.

Despite some late withdrawals, we still had a 12 strong contingent in the ladies race, which included a cross-country debutant in Tara Hipwood. Though they set off in the sunshine, the wind meant that the weather changed quickly and the poor lasses had to suffer just about every type of weather possible including a spell of hail and sleet! Apparently they also had to cope with sheep stampeding across the course at one point!

Maria Duenas had a great run to lead the ladies home in 26th place, and thus will be promoted to the medium pack next time. Next home was Sarah Kerr with another excellent run to finish 50th from the fast pack. Maddie Day also produced a strong performance, coming 60th when starting from the medium pack for the first time. Julie Cross completed the A team as the Claremont women finished 3rd on the day to remain 2nd in the table for the season. We also had complete B and C teams – so well done, ladies!

26Maria Duenas37:50
50Sarah Kerr38:59 (fast pack, actual time 33:59)
60Maddie Day39:22 (medium pack, actual time 37:02)
116Julie Cross41:18
152Nina Jensen42:34
157Hazel Juggins42:48
167Julija Stoniute43:14
172Tara Hipwood43:19
230Bill Milbourne46:58 (Over 65 men’s race)
232Marie Slack47:00
239Alice Vialard47:46
256Cath Robson50:02
265Mary Martin51:37

The weather and the sheep were much better behaved for the men’s race, so that the wind was the only problem (though we do run an extra lap!). Kris Axon was starting from the medium pack for the first time, so I wondered if I could get around a lap before he overtook me. No chance! Kris flew past me just after coming out of the woods and then disappeared into the distance as he went down the hill. It was a superb performance as he finished in 5th place overall. It is a shame that the rest of the Claremont lads were nowhere near his standard, though we did have a season’s best 7th place in the division!

5Kris Axon44:08 (medium pack, actual time 41:38)
125Tom Tinsley51:10
148Roberto Marzo52:15 (medium pack, actual time 49:45)
257David Lydall58:28
282Francesco Carrer60:13
285Alasdair Wilson Craw60:47
346Kenny McCormick83:27
Tom Tinsley -