NECAA Cross-Country Championships, 11th December 2021

The North East Counties cross-country championships took place in Sedgefield this year. Kris Axon sends us this excellent report:

“Yesterday saw a slightly depleted Claremont squad run in the North Eastern XC championships at Sedgefield. Some would say the sensible ones were those who chose not to race in the wind and rain; but those who ran said they were the lucky ones as it turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable day.

The men started first unlike at the Harrier League where the women go off first. With only three hardy team members unfortunately we didn’t have enough men for a team entry, however all three who ran put in a very good performance considering. Kris Axon finished 32nd, Laurie Johnson 237th and Howard MacLennan 264th despite his claims of having a cold! The course was a fairly flat, all grass route with only a few steady inclines on each of the 4 laps meaning it was a very fast ran race despite the brisk wind and muddy course. An increased distance to 12km made it that little bit more challenging too.

The Women also ran a slightly longer route than the usual harrier league courses, running 8km in total. The race again started quite fast but as the race progressed, the wind and rain got worse, really degrading the course conditions. Strong performances were again seen by all runners. Sarah Kerr led the way for the Claremont ladies finishing a very respectable 24th.  Maria Duenas and Nicki O’Brien were  neck and neck all the way round but Maria’s epic sprint finish saw her gain an extra place on the home straight, finishing 60th and 66th respectively. Next was Nina Jensen 92nd and Tara Hipwood 136th. Despite being told it was too dark by the marshalls and that she must retire, Lena Lou was determined she would show them how committed she was and completed the race regardless finishing strongly in 168th place!

Some extremely good running from the Women’s team saw them grab 12th place in the team standings out of 23 teams! A very well done. I think all who ran would agree that it was a very enjoyable event, living up to all the stereotypes of a typical cross country event; Mud, Wind and Rain! Good job we had cake!”

32Kris Axon42:42
237Laurie Johnson56:29
264Howard MacLennan 59:27
24Sarah Kerr35:01
60Maria Duenas38:49
66Nicki O’Brien39:24
93Nina Jensen41:47
137Tara Hipwood46:01
169Lena Lou56:04

Thanks to Stuart Whitman, Karen Harland and others for the use of their photos.