Wednesday 24 February 2021

From the archives: English National XC Townmoor 1986

by Bill McGuirk


I FOUND this race report from the English National Cross-Country Championships held on Town Moor on Saturday, March 1, 1986.

Make of the attempted Geordie dialect what you will!

THE ninety-ninth English Cross-Country Championships took place at Town Moor in Newcastle, this was the first time Newcastle had hosted the race, Provincial Insurance continued their support of the event. The programme contained a good Geordie welcome from the president M. Fraser of Darlington Harriers.

Us Geordie Hinnies want to say: ‘Howway aall ye lads, gan tappy lapy up the banks, but divvent cowp ya creels in the darts.’

Roughly translated means: ‘The local inhabitants would like to welcome all you chaps, to hope that you will not find the gradients excessive, and bid you take care lest you fall in the muddy ground.’

The course consisted of three laps of approximately three miles plus the start and finish straights and was nine miles in total.

The reigning champion, David Lewis (Rossendale) was a notable absentee, Tim Hutchings (Crawley) spent the week in Newcastle acclimatising and felt poised before the race saying: ‘I’m reasonably confident about Saturday, I’ve been very pleased with my three runs on the Continent and I really should have won in Paris. I feel I’m back to my best now.’

This was an ominous warning for the other leading contenders. Area champions were Bob Treadwell (Surrey Beagles), Southern titleholder; Nigel Gates (Bath and Percy), Midlands winner and Northern champion Geoff Turnbull (Gateshead) who was absent – Jon Richards (Cornwall) held the Inter-Counties title. Dave Clarke (Hercules Wimbledon) and Eamonn Martin (Basildon) were also planning to run. Tipton were hot favourites for the team title.

The course was challenging as it was covered with snow and ice undulating and there was also a cold wind blowing across the moor. After a mile when the initial stampede had begun to stretch out, the leading pack consisted of Mike McLeod (Elswick), Clarke, Hutchings, Tony Milovsorov (Tipton), Roger Hackney (Aldershot, Farnham and District) and Neil Tennant (Luton United).

The two main hills on each lap had an impact of the leading runners. Hutchings was coping with them admirably and when the runners started the second circuit Hutchings had a 40 metre advantage over Clarke with Tennant, McLeod and Steve Binns (Bingley), Hackney, Martin and Miovsorov in pursuit. Hutchings continued to dominate throughout the lap, and Clarke increased the gap on the chasing pack.

On the last lap Hutchings made the going look ease with a masterful execution of cross-country running, Clarke continued to chase and Martin overcame the challenge of McLeod, Binns and Tennant to move into third, Hutchings went onto to win by 34 seconds in 47:25, silver went to Clarke and bronze to Martin. McLeod won the battle fourth place.

Early leaders

Winner: Tim Huchings

In the team race Milovsorov led Tipton to victory with their six counters placing inside the top 79, this gave Tipton a 156-point win over Basildon with the Wolverhampton and Bilston team picking up the bronze medals.

The 26-year-old Hutchings said: ‘It wasn’t a traditional cross-country course. Had it been drier, it would have been a very, very fast, flat course, with just that one hill really. The second hill was negligible because you came down off the first one so fast, but it was a tough course because of the conditions and I can’t complain about that.’

Tim derived more satisfaction than his first win in 1983 saying: ‘I’m more aware of what’s going on now in the sport, especially after having such a bad year last year. Just about everybody was running apart from Dave Lewis.’

RESULT: 1 T Hutchings (Crawley) 47:25; 2 D Clarke (Hercules Wimbledon) 47:59; 3 E Martin (Basildon) 48:10; 4 M McLeod (Elswick) 48:33; 5 T Milovsorov (Tipton); 6 S Binns (Bingley) 48:43. Other notable NE finishers included: 15 B Rushworth (Sund) 49:19; 31 G Nagel (Gates) 50:24; 33 C Naisbitt (Walls) 50:27; 42 S Sutcliffe (Gates) 50:45;45 B Leddicoat (Gates) 50:52; 51 P Cuskin (J&H); 52 S Parr (Gates); 90 A Robinson (Gates); 121 A Johnson (Elsw); 128 D Hill (Sund); 149 M Coleby (Gates); 180 M Murphy (Gates); 187 R Cooke (NewAyk); 191 N Reeves (Morp); 204 A Wears (J&H); 220 K Lowther (J&H); 221 G Woods (Morp); 238 P Smith (Morp); 256 P O’Docherty (J&H); 274 A Dent (Blay); 277 P Merrison (Walls); 281 L Atkinson (Alnw); 283 C Abbott (NewAyc); 293 M Price (Derw); 296 A Jenkins (Morp). And, outside the top 300 at random, 301 G Hetherington (DurC); 323 I Brown (Morp); 345 J Marshall (DurC); 347 Moore (Gosf); 358 K Mackey (SthSh); 361 A Lamb (NSP); 365 B Jameson (Tyne); 397 W Gilroy (Gosf). Other prominent names include: 441 M Miles (heat); 461 A Gibson (Gosf);462 T Power (J&H); 463 D Speight (Morp); 467 G Robinson (Ch-le-St); 474 S Gaines (Morp); 488 D Lowther (J&H); 492 P Casey (Ch-le-St); 494 D Littlewood (Crook); 497 C Richardson (NSP); 507 K Freeman (Ch-le-St); 541 A Gallon (Heat); 542 J Morton (Elsw); 560 B Clark (Salt); 566 R Page (Hough); 578 I Archbold (Sund); 646 K Wesson (Ch-le-St); 672 J Alder  (Morp); 685 M Candlish (J&H); 691 D Appleby (Clare); 699 R Boak (Walls); 760 P McLeod (Elsw); 764 D Henderson (Alnw); 778 M Shirley (Heat); 816 T O’Gara (Walls); 817 J Watson (Wash); 841 J Ranson (Ch-le-St); 844 C White (NewAyc); 945 A Brown (Blyth); 957 S Pigford (Hough); 1,018 O McGarell (SthSh); 1,067 B Murray (Derw); 1,101 T Attey (Ch-le-St); 1,118 T Went (NSP); 1,312 C Brown (Heat); 1,382 K Bay (Bray?) (NthPol); 1,442 M Page (Hough); 1,593 R Laverick (Ch-le-St). There were 1,707 finishers with Tipton winning the team race from Basildon and Wolverhampton and Bilston with Gateshead finishing fourth. 23 Jarrow and Hebburn; 27 Morpeth; 46 Elswick; 59 Mandale; 75 Newton Aycliffe; 76 Wallsend; 86 Chester-le-Street; 93 Blaydon; 104 North Shields Poly; 109 Gosforth; 130 Crook; 131 Claremont; 136 Tynedale; 144 Derwentside; 146 Saltwell; 147 Houghton; 152 Washington; 153 Darlington; 157 South Shields.   

**THE 54th ladies National was held earlier on February 2 at Western Park, Leicester and was won by Carole Bradford (Clevedon) with Jane Shields (Sheffield) second and Julie Laughton (Derby Ladies).

The North East charge was led by Blaydon’s Jill Hunter who finished in 23rd place. Christina Boxer, who later linked up with Gateshead, finished seventh.

Other notable NE finishers included: 34 C Naisby (Hough), 69 J Scott (Darl), 88 C Leroi (Darl),103 D Robinson (Darl), 109 L Souter (Darl), 152 M Dodsworth (Hough), 153 L Harding (Hough), 159 H Robinson (Ch-le-St), 164 S Raine (Darl), 231 J Dixon (Gates), 274 K Cornwall (NSP), 292 Z Humphreys (Blay), 303 R Smith (NSP). There were 566 finishers. In the team race, won by Sale, Darlington finished 10th and Blaydon were 36th.

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