Birtley XC Relays, 14th January 2024

It was a bright, lovely morning and a good day for running a cross-country relay, albeit a bit cold (it is January, after all). Three Claremont teams were present, a male masters’ team and a female team in each category – senior and masters. For four of the six ladies, this was the first time they had sampled the pleasures of the Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy school grounds – and they make a great job of producing a twisting 1500m circuit that includes two sharp descents and ascents to add a bit of challenge! The nature of the course also makes it very spectator friendly, especially on a sunny morning like this.

First off were the veteran men (kindly called Masters here!), and Laurie Johnson led the team well with a very strong first leg. So well is Laurie running that I don’t think I have ever set off at the start of my relay leg so far up the field! Unfortunately I couldn’t maintain the position, and ran my slowest ever time at this event, losing a few places before handing over to Sonam Wangdi. I could blame the conditions as, although nothing like Thornley Hall Farm or Temple Park, it was once again the muddiest I have ever seen this course (mud is becoming a bit of a theme this season). However, I think I should really blame my own condition! Sonam held our position and I think that we can be very satisfied with 14th place.

There is just one ladies’ race, with senior and masters teams racing together. The senior team had a last minute substitute, with Gill Milne stepping up to run with the youngsters! Nina Jensen, the only other Claremont lady to have run here before, deserves a special mention for running so soon after breaking her elbow. Both teams put in solid performances on what is a tricky little course. Well done.

Once again we were treated to baked goodies, thanks to Gill, Lynne and Holly. Thanks also to all the photographers (I’m sorry I caught so many of you coming up the hill – though Holly was smiling even then!).

Masters Men
PositionRunnersTime
14Laurie Johnson
Tom Tinsley
Sonam Wangdi
Team Time
12:08
13:48
13:47
39:43
Women
PositionCategoryRunnersTime
33MastersLucy Keating
Lynne Cornell
Nina Jensen
Team Time
16:26
17:39
18:10
52:15
35SeniorsHolly Porter
Aoife Monaghan
Gill Milne
Team Time
15:24
17:32
19:52
52:48
Tom Tinsley -
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