Friday 1 October 2021

Cross country for the lasses

I love that you're never too slow to run cross country.  It's not a time trial, it's an endurance test.  At the sharp end it's a race for sure, but in the middle, or at the back it's a chance to be part of a team.  To run for that team, and to count, even in some small way to help that team.

(Some) People think that if they're a B or C or D team runner they don't count.  Absolutely not true.  Every person you finish ahead of helps your team in some way.  You could be pushing their fourth counter one place further down the field, giving your team that vital extra edge to finish up the division. 

There's also cheering on your faster team mates as they come fleeing past you like gazelles, skipping over the ground while you carry on at your best get-round-to-the finish-pace (I speak from personal experience as a Rhino rather than a Gazelle).  It's great to shout people on.  I love seeing lasses do well.

Vicki T looking canny ('cause it's a downhill section)

Wrekenton sure was like the savannah.  I don't think I've ever seen it so dry.  Coming down the back of the folly (the big hill with the Chain-bridge Stones) was like a dustbowl, don't think I've ever finished a race where I've had to dust myself down rather than wipe off clarts.  Definitely a first, and also the first time I've ever worn a pair of road shoes for cross country! 

Catriona MacDonald powers through from the fast pack to record the fastest time of the day

I've been Ladies Sec. for the NEHL since 2009, and did my first xc as an adult at Chester-le-Street in 2005. It was another dry sunny day, I'd never ran xc since my teens, but when I joined Jarrow & Hebburn I was told that xc was mandatory (LOL) and that I had been entered so I had to turn up.  I didn't have a club vest so Michael Bunn gave me his (after he'd ran in it and it was dripping wet), and I didn't have spikes so I borrowed some from one of the U20 women who had ran their race - Sarah Evans or Georgia Campbell I think.

Even though I had this minging vest on, and a pair of spikes I'd never ran in before, I absolutely loved it.  I finished 53rd out of what was a large field of *drum roll* 74.  74 ladies in the senior women's race.  If you want to see what the fields were like in 2005 you can see the results here. There's a whole bunch of familiar names on there, people you'd probably still see running today. 

We had 399 finishers in the Women's race at Wrekenton this year, yes that was down on the previous 499 in 2019, but coming off the back of a cancelled season I think it's an amazing turn out and I'm very proud of every lass that's turned up and donned a club vest and got out there to take part.  Cross country is a tough test, but it's a great way to get through the autumn and winter, and have a bit of fun in the mud (normally it's muddy honestly).

So, if you're right at the front, or way at the back, I hope you enjoyed the run, and please, please get your team mates out for a great day at NEHL Druridge Bay on Sunday 10th of October.  

There may be mud, it'll probably be windy, but there will definitely be cake.  There's always cake somewhere.

Vicki Thompson
NEHL Ladies Secretary

Julie Schneider of host club Saltwell

Prudhoe Plodders out in the savannah

Vanessa Nair enjoying the run

Team Blyth

Team Crook

Team Elswick

Team Gosforth

Team Heaton

Team Newburn

Team Ponteland

Team Stocksfield

Team Tynedale

Team Washington

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