NEHL Alnwick, 2nd March 2024

Alnwick has become the traditional location for the season finale, with the scenic venue being seen as a great way to end the year, but this year’s very wet winter has seen two events re-arranged for later dates. So it was a new experience to have a “mid-season” run around the pastures taking in the views of the castle.

The exceptionally wet weather has also meant that the courses have been very muddy, and Alnwick proved to be no exception! In fact, the heavens opened shortly after our arrival, and torrential rain saw the Claremont contingent hiding in the tent and huddled under umbrellas! At least Charlotte Kerr finished her race before the worst of the weather – most of the other juniors were less fortunate. Charlotte ran very well, improving massively on her positions in previous Harrier League races.

Once again, the Claremont ladies turned out in force and our 16 strong contingent was bettered by only 3 other clubs (and nobody had more complete teams). Add in Kenny McCormick and we had 17 sky blue vests on the start line as the sun finally came out, treating us to a nice rainbow over the trees on the hill. The team contained 3 cross-country debutants and they had a baptism of fire (or should that be mud!). The course at Alnwick has never been so wet, with mud everywhere and some very boggy patches, but at least there were some very big puddles to clean your shoes as you ran! Of the first-timers, Anneliza Andreadi didn’t seem sure what to make of it, saying that she “struggled to see the joy” but at least “the cakes were amazing!”, while Sophie Richardson’s Strava feed simply says “Crikey!”. Welcome to the world of cross-country running!

Sarah Kerr continued her fine form this season, powering through the mud to be first Claremonter home despite starting from the fast pack. The ever-improving Holly Porter was next, with Chloe Glover and the other debutant, Sonja Fenske, completing the A team.

In contrast, late withdrawals due to illness left the men with just the 6 runners – so everybody had to get around if we were to have a full team. The fact that we did is largely down to the commitment of Howard MacLennan and David Devennie. Howard is waiting for confirmation of a possible slipped disc and David is well short of training and was hoping to just do a lap or two! They may have finished fairly near the back of the field, but they showed the true Claremont spirit – well done! A big well done to Laurie Johnson too. Laurie put in an excellent performance to finish narrowly outside the promotion places, which means he will get at least one more time without a handicap.

Thanks also due to Gill Milne and Maddie Axon, complete with the twins, for coming out to support the team even though they couldn’t run themselves. As ever, thanks to all the bakers for ensuring that we had a much needed sugar boost at the end.

Under 11 Girls
38Charlotte Kerr5:19
43Sarah Kerr37:30 (Fast pack; actual time 32:30)
61Holly Porter37:58
87Chloe Glover38:37
94Sonja Fenske36:47
123Isabel Neatrour39:27 (Fast pack; actual time 34:27)
161Cate Walker40:42
194Nina Jensen42:13
218Tara Hipwood43:39
225Hazel Juggins44:04
232Anneliza Andreadi44:39
256Mary Rack47:17
257Sophie Richardson47:20
284Ann Smith51:42
290Cath Robson53:25
296Yue Zhao55:15
297Shilpa Iyanna55:47
Over 65 Men
8Kenny McCormick56:55
46Laurie Johnson47:00
171Mark Anderson50:42 (Medium pack; actual time 48:12)
221Tom Tinsley52:12
323Aaron Mansell58:52
395Howard MacLennan68:15
399David Devennie69:51
Tom Tinsley -