Sunday 26 September 2021

Report from NEHL Wrekenton 2021


WHAT is it about the Harrier League that, on a blistering hot day more than 1,300 competitors were eager to start their winter campaign with an outing over the brick-hard terrain at Wrekenton for the opening fixture of the Start Fitness North East Harrier League?

It’s been 18 months since the last HL fixture at Lambton but despite the long lay-off enthusiasm across all age groups was there for all to see as the fast and not-so-fast runners were cheered on every step of the way by the Saltwell club’s marshals, the host club now extremely efficient in putting on a successful event.

As is now the norm, the under-11 events opened up the day’s proceedings contesting a tough one-mile course and it was the boys’ section which got the day’s action underway which saw 54 enthusiastic youngsters representing 22 of the region’s clubs set off at quite a fast pace!

After the initial scramble for position it was Elswick’s Nicholas Surtees-Brown who was out in front and from then on to the finish he was never headed to cross the line in 6min 15sec. Following him home was Wallsend’s Kasper Pearson (6:30) with Felix Dixon, also of Elswick, completing the one-two-three in 6:42.

The under-11 girls set off five minutes after the boys and it turned out to be a Graham family celebration with twins Nell and Kitty filling the first two places ahead of Gateshead’s Emma Blackburn. The talking point amongst parents and spectators after results were announced was that Nell’s winning time of 6:13 was a couple of seconds quicker than that of the boys! Kitty finished 20 seconds adrift of her sister while Emma (6:44) halted a Birtley clean-sweep as Poppie Phillipson finished in fourth place in 6:55. As well as having the first two home the Birtley club managed to have six finishers in the top 10 from a field of 52 which is a great achievement and a credit to the hard work put in by the backroom team.

Without competition last year it meant that the under-13/15 were scratch races rather than handicapped which will, of course, come into force at the next fixture at Druridge Bay.

The under-13 boys two-mile contest was led throughout by North Shields Poly’s Adam Feenen who crossed the line in 8:58, 18 seconds clear of Durham City’s William Jardine with Oscar Makepeace (North Shields Poly) a further eight seconds back in third place. North Shields Poly, with sixth-paced Charlie Furness, backing up Feenan and Makepeace, were comfortable team winners ahead of Gateshead and Durham City.

The celebrations were even grandeur for the Poly after the under-13 girls contest which saw Katy Otterson (9:52) and Ruby Dann (10:33) fill the leading two places ahead of Durham City’s Grace Carter (10:38). It was another comfortable team success for the Poly with seventh-placed Lily McColl backing up Katy and Ruby. Durham City finished runners-up ahead of Morpeth.

The under-15 events were over the same two-mile course with Ben Sproats providing another Poly victory in the boys race with a winning time of 8:43. Morpeth duo Joseph Close and Oliver Calvert battled it out for the minor honours with Close (8:52) holding off the challenge of his team-mate by just one second to take the runners-up spot. With fifth-placed Oliver Tomlinson backing up Close and Calvert, Morpeth edged the team event by two points ahead of North Shields Poly with the Poly non-scoring second string in third ahead of Birtley.

The under-15 girls race was a triumph for Durham City’s Charlotte Dillon who carried on from a superb track season where she is ranked number three over 3,000m in the Po10 listings. Charlotte crossed the line in 9:16, 43 seconds clear of Elswick’s Poppy Old with Blaydon’s Ellie Fellows just three seconds further adrift in third position. Elswick, with Erin Blight (8th) and Poppy Wilde (10th) backing up Old, claimed team victory ahead of Gateshead with the Newcastle outfit to be congratulated in closing in three teams with their B team finishing in third place ahead of North Shields Poly.

In the under-17 men’s event it was the blue and white vests of Morpeth to the fore with Bertie Marr and Blaydon’s Will Collinson at the head of affairs from the gun. The duo were tracked by Sunderland’s Adam Hughes and a trio of Morpeth athletes’ Matthew Walton, Liam Roche and James Tilley. As the race entered the second circuit Marr started to pull away from his rivals and at the finish he crossed the line in 17:16, eight seconds clear of Davies with Wearsider Hughes three seconds behind in third place as he held off the challenge of a Morpeth clean-sweep to finish ahead of Walton. Morpeth duly won the team contest ahead of Durham City with Sunderland finishing in third spot just ahead of Blaydon.

In the combined under-17/20 women’s event it was another individual success for North Shields Poly as Holly Waugh pulled away from her main rival, Millie Breese (Morpeth), at the start of the second lap which she extended to 41 seconds at the line. Tynedale’s Jess Sails finished in bronze medal position as Holly led the Poly to another team success thanks to the backing of fifth-placed Katie Joslyn and ninth-placed Mili Diddee. Elswick, led home by eighth-placed Imogen Bungay, finished runners-up.

The senior women’s contest, which attracted a superb 400 starters, was won by new Blaydon recruit Emily Baines. The former member of Yorkshire outfit  Knavesmire, was always in contention at the head of affairs before easing away on the second circuit to win by over a minute. At the midway stage Sunderland’s Jessica Fox was in second place followed by Elswick’s Katerina Bonner with the positions staying the same as the contest unfolded on the second and final lap. Fox took the runners-up spot (26:32) with Bonner finishing in third place in 26:48. 

Jarrow and Hebburn’s Alex Sneddon was quickest from the medium pack (25:49) from a 2min 20sec handicap while Morpeth’s Catriona MacDonald was fastest overall (23:49) after moving through the field from a five-minute penalty to finish an excellent 16th.

Elswick won the Division One team race ahead of North Shields Poly and Gateshead while in Division Two newly-promoted Jarrow and Hebburn took the honours ahead of Tynedale and Sunderland. Crook came out on top in Division Three finishing ahead of Ponteland with Blyth edging Low Fell for third spot.

New Morpeth signing Liam Roarty led throughout the six-mile senior men’s contest which attracted over 500 competitors. A delighted Roarty crossed the line in 32:37, 43 seconds clear of under-20 athlete, Houghton’s Chris Coulson (33:40), with Mark Hodgson (South Shields) getting the better of North Shields Poly’s Benn Cook in the sprint to the line to claim third spot with both athletes credited with the same time of 34:13. Sunderland’s Liam Taylor worked his way through from a two-minute-30-seconds handicap to finish in ninth place while fastest overall on the course was Michael Hedley (Tyne Bridge) who defied his five-minute penalty to come home in 19th position to record an actual time of 31:57.

In the team stakes, Morpeth came out on top in Division One pushing defending champions Sunderland into second place with Tyne Bridge a closeup third. In Division Two North Shields Poly aim to bounce straight back after being relegated last term by coming out on top in the opening fixture finishing ahead of Elswick and South Shields both teams finishing on the same number of points with the Newcastle outfit edging it on countback. In Division Three it was Sedgefield who led the way ahead of Houghton with Aycliffe edging out Washington for third spot.

On all accounts, the hot weather and the tough Wrekenton course didn’t stop everyone having a bit of a wry smile once they had finished whether they were up at the sharp end or near the rear and hopefully they will all be back for more for the second fixture which moves onto Druridge Bay in two weeks time.

**Once again the League is grateful to Saltwell Harriers for hosting another highly-successful event; to Start Fitness for their support once again; to all the superb marshalls and technical officials and to the first aid team. Without all the volunteers the League would not function at all so thank you all.


Photos: Stuart Whitman

Full results available:

Wednesday 22 September 2021

NEHL 2021-22 Fixture 1: Wrekenton Cross Country

Harrier League online entries are now closed.

We had a total of 3128 people entered for Wrekenton which compares to 3620 in 2019. That's only 14% down.

A list of this year's registrations can be found here:
Check it and let Paul know if you think there is a problem.

If there is a race number next to your name then you're registered for Wrekenton on Saturday.
If there is a zero next to your name or your name is not shown then you are not registered.

People not registered by their team manager will have to hope entries are available on race day and pay £5.

This year there are 6 sets of numbers across the categories.

Under 11 have Yellow numbers
Under 13 have Blue numbers
Under 15 have Green numbers
Under 17/20 have Purple numbers
Senior Men have White numbers
Senior Women have Orange numbers

also in the bottom right of each number is category code:
U11, U13, U15, U17&20, M, W
On the back of each number is your chip.

Do not run in hand written or photocopied numbers, it will not be timed, your chip is recorded by the scanners as you pass through the finish, if it's not on the number it will not be recorded.

Team managers must collect the full pack of numbers, we will not split packs, or remove individual numbers, so your team manager must be there in time to collect numbers for the U11s or juniors depending on who is registered.

When numbers are collected team managers must provide payment which is £50 + £3 per runner, and a contact telephone number.

It is the responsibility of the team managers to take emergency contact numbers for their club's athletes. The league do not hold information on individual athletes contact information.

All competitors: If you have a medical condition which may affect your ability to take part, or which you think we should know about you must let your team manager know and you must fill in the details on the back of the number.

This includes any kind of heart or lung condition, and related medication If anything happens we need to be able to pass on information as soon as possible.

Guests may run in the league at a cost of £5 for the whole season. This is a one off charge. They must register on the day, and let us know if they competed last season (and if they did we can check the pack).

Guests must be members of a EA or SA affiliated club.

Second Claim runners may not count for team points. They can either run for their first claim club as a guest, or if they come and register on the day they can take part as a non-counting runner in their second claim vest.

Guests & Second claim runners do not accumulate team points, but do get individual grand prix points.

Race HQ will be at the all new singing and dancing NEHL Tent next to my Yeti at the start area.

Reminder to ALL competitors. We do not split race packs. Your team manager needs to collect and pay for your team entries. I have a list of who owes what, we wi
ll not take individual numbers out of the packs, we are far too busy. Find out who your team manager is and make sure they have a cheque or cash with them to cover the club's entry fees.

Costs are £50 + £3 per runner for clubs

£5 for guests

If by some unknown reason you manage to lose your number on the day after you've collected it from your team tent, you can buy a new one for £5. I know it sounds daft, but it has happened before.

Quick reminder of the rules.

You must start in the pack you have been allocated. If you don't we'll cover you in tar and feathers (and DQ you)

You must wear your club's team vest or t-shirt (or you will be DQd & won't count for team points)

RACE ORDER & TIMES for the coming season
1200 Under 11 Boys (1.5k)
1205 Under 11 Girls (1.5k)
1215 Under 17 Men (1.5 laps approx. 5k)
1220 Under 20 & Under 17 Women (1.5 laps approx 5k)
1235 Under 15 Boys (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1240 Under 15 Girls (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1250 Under 13 Boys (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1255 Under 13 Girls (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1305 Senior Women (2 laps approx. 4 miles - 6.4k)
1350 Senior Men (3 laps approx. 6 miles - 9.6k)

Age restrictions as follows:

Under 11 - must be age 9 on the day of competition
Under 13 - must be 11 on 31st August 2021.  U11s turning 11 during the season may move up to the U13s
Under 15 - must be 13 on 31st August 2021.
Under 17 men - must be 15 on 31st August 2021.
Under 17 & 20 women - must be 15 on 31st August 2021.
Senior Men - must be 17 on 31st August 2021.
Senior Women - must be 20 on 31st August 2021.

Masters men aged 65 may (if they wish) run in the 2 lap Senior Women's race, they register as per normal in the men's race, then come to race hq for a replacement number.  Masters wishing to do this must stay in the 2 lap race all season.

Fixture #1 - NEHL Wrekenton - Saturday 28th September

Use postcode NE9 6RZ for SAT NAV

From Andy Ross, Saltwell Harriers:
Hi everyone.
Hope we are all looking forward to the XC at Wrekenton this weekend.
Just a bit of information about parking on the day.
There are 2 parking areas we are requesting people use this Saturday.
The first and biggest one is the NHS Park & Ride carpark opposite Cardinal Hume School (NE9 6RZ). We will have a marshall at this location in high viz.
The second one is the empty land near the start area on Harebell Road which is accessible via Speedwell off Old Durham road. (Approx 200m north of Cardinal Hulme School.)
Just a few polite requests.
Please do not park on the main road (Old Durham Road) near to the car park, school and rows of houses or in the estate near to the start area as we don’t want to upset the local residents and there is also a cycle lane on the main road so we don’t want to upset cyclists. It’s really important we don’t jeopardise future events because of parking complaints.
The course is a 10/15 minute walk from the NHS car park via the cyclepath adjacent to the school at the junction of Moss Side/Old Durham road approx. 350m south of the NHS car park.
Most of all I hope everyone thoroughly enjoys the day……the weather is looking kind and it isn’t looking like a mudbath!!!
Saltwell Harriers.

Route Map:

U11s - 1 mile

U13s - 2 miles
U15s - 2 miles
U17&20 Women - 3 miles
U17 men - 3 miles
Women & M65+  - 3 miles
Men - 6 miles

COVID-19 Instructions

Part of the granting of our event license is based on application of current guidance provided by and also that provided England Athletics ( )  


  • Use hand gels / cleaning materials available at the toilets 

  • Wear a mask when not running / in areas where there are larger numbers of people 

  • Bring own hand gel and use frequently 

  • Take 2 x LFT tests in the week leading to the event 

  • Completed vaccination programme where possible / applicable 


The following is mandatory: 


  • Do not attend the event if you currently display any symptoms associated with COVID-19   

Thursday 2 September 2021

Start Fitness NEHL 2020-21 Season - 125 years of the Harrier League

 Good morning all, 

This season sees the 125th anniversary of the founding of the league, and we have a treat for folks who and support the leagues races and our local championships.

Our sponsors Start Fitness have very kindly agreed to award a free commemorative T-Shirt to anyone who competes in four league fixtures, plus the Sherman Cup/Davison Shield, the North Eastern Championships, and the Northern Championships.

Example of T-Shirt (It may be a different design or colour)

The fixtures are as follows:

25.09.21 Wrekenton
10.10.21 Druridge Bay
30.10.21 Lambton Castle
27.11.21 Aykley Heads
11.12.21 Northeastern Championships - Sedgefield
08.01.22 Temple Park (Sherman Cup/Davison Shield)
29.01.22 Northern Championships
12.02.22 Thornley Hall Farm
05.03.22 Alnwick Castle

So that is four of the six harrier league races, plus the three fixtures in bold.

If you can't make enough fixtures the t-shirts will be available to purchase from Start Fitness.

Happy running!

Start Fitness NEHL Presentation 19-20

 Dear All

The presentation for season 19-20 will take place on 30th September at Start Fitness 33-35 Market St Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6JE
at 6pm.

We have a a great supporter of the league to do the presentations.

As we are still in realms of a pandemic, there are few things we would like you to adhere to.

No more than 2 accompanying guests per prize winner.
Keep to social distancing wherever possible, masks are preferred but not obligatory.
Lastly could the prize winners please RSVP as to whether they will be attending or not.

Please reply to no later 15/09/2021

SF NEHL Grand Prix Winners 19-20

These are the GP winners:

u13 Boys
1 Matthew Das, Gateshead 2996
2 Oliver Tomlinson, Morpeth 2992
3=Aiden Wilkinson, Durham 2984
3=Arran Head, NSP 2984
3=Ben Scantlebury, NSP 2984

u13 Girls
1 Annabel Milburn, Gateshead 2994
2=Darcey Tullis, Jarrow & Hebburn 2990
2=Ellie Fellows, Blaydon 2990

u15 Boys
1 Chris Perkins, Birtley 3000
2 Bertie Marr, Morpeth 2992
3 Tom Slane, Blackhill 2988

u15 Girls
1 Millie Breeze, Alnwick 2999
2 Katie Francis. Birtley 2996
3 Abigail Leiper Morpeth 2990

u17 Boys
1 Joshua Wraith, Durham 2994
2 Euan Duffy, Morpeth 2992
3 Samuel Gibson, Houghton 2987

u17&20 Women
1 Amy Ellis, Gosforth 2980
2 Charley Lee, Elswick 2974
3 Suzannah Fielding, Elswick 2964

Senior Men
1 Chris Larkin, Newcastle Uni 2998
2 Conrad Franks, Gateshead Harriers 2996
3 Steve Jackson, Elvet 2986

Senior Women
1 Amy Fuller, Elswick 2997
2 Lauren Davies-Beckett, Newcastle Uni 2989
3 Jennifer Berry, Wallsend 2985

Vet Men
1 Darren Purvis, Birtley 3000
2 Chris Jackson, Sunderland Harriers 2995
3=Graeme Watt, Elvet 2988
3=Steven Medd, Gateshead 2988

Vet Women
1 Jane Hodgson, Morpeth 3000
2 Gemma Bradley, Saltwell 2997
3 Kirstie Anderson, Tynedale 2989

Team Winners
u13 Boys: North Shields Poly
u13 Girls: Elswick Harriers
u15 Boys: Morpeth Harriers
u15 Girls: Gosforth Harriers
u17 Boys: Houghton AC
u17&20 Women: Elswick harriers

Senior Men
Div 1: Sunderland Harriers
Div 2: Birtley AC
Div 3: Jesmond Joggers

Senior Women
Div 1: Tynebridge Harriers
Div 2: Wallsend Harriers
Div 3: Claremont RR

Teams, if you are in possession of a trophy please arrange to have it brought to NEHL #1 Wrekenton fixture on September 25th