NEHL Aykley Heads, 26th November 2022

We’re midway through this year’s Harrier’s League, and Aykley Heads made sure to deliver, as Charlotte Kerr put it, “cross country that felt like cross country”. A varied and very muddy course, with plenty of inclination to contend with (including some admittedly quite fun downhills), divided opinions between this being some people’s favourite course, while leaving others questioning the life decisions that led them there in the first place. Those of us donning spikes were quite happy to get stuck in, with the rest of us manifesting not slipping over all the way around the course.

A mostly clear sky lulled us into a false sense of security that was quickly broken by the strong winds that had the tent shaking throughout the afternoon. But with flasks of tea and coffee aplenty, cake catering to all of the dietary requirements (thank you Gill!) and several layers and bobble hats, the atmosphere made up for any mild discomfort, as it always does!

The encouragement from the sidelines was great, as usual, but made even better by some mini Claremonters strategically placed along the course cheering us on as we passed (great job O’Briens and Kerrs!), as well as by some of our sky blues coming along to support (thank you Ann Smith and Julie Dumpleton), including some lovely canine friends.

Unfortunately due to illnesses we were one man short from making a team, although that didn’t put off our five runners, who all did great! Strong representation from the ladies, with three teams and even a couple of spares, and some great running, with Sarah managing to overtake everyone despite starting in the fast pack, Catherine not much behind, and Maria making her fast pack debut. Absolute commitment to cross country was embodied by Rose, who came to run and gave lifts, somehow squeezing it in between run directing at Leazes parkrun and a wedding at 4.30pm on the same day.

For those of us not doing Champs in a couple of weeks’ time this was the last one before a bit of a break over Christmas, and we will return to the fields on the 7th of January, for the Winter half of the season!

Under 11 Girls
45Charlotte Kerr7:22
63Sarah Kerr35:15 (Fast pack, actual time 30:00)
80Catherine Young35:29 (Medium pack, actual time 33:04)
100Julie Cross35:47
143Margaux Robin36:31
147Nina Jensen36:40
175Liz Denyer37:12
226Maria Dueñas37:58 (Fast pack, actual time 32:43)
249Nicki O’Brien38:33 (Medium pack, actual time 36:08
258Tara Hipwood38:43
310Mariana Mouzinho41:00
357Rose Hawkswood44:03
358Gill Milne44:04
386Shilpa Iyanna47:25
415Mary Martin53:27
237Laurie Johnson46:55
348Chris Jones49:57
411Dean O’Brien52:38
428David Lydall53:57
505José Gallego Parilla59:47

Thanks to all the photographers – Laurie, José, Gill, Maria and Tara. Also to Ian Hutchinson and Stuart Whitman for making their photographs available.

Mariana Mouzinho -