Tuesday 21 March 2023

British Masters XC Championships 2023 Report


 WE’VE always known that here in the North East we are second to none when it comes to putting on successful athletics events, especially cross-country, so when it was suggested that the British Masters’ XC Championships were headed for the region it was taken on board just like any other fixture without any fuss.

Step in Heaton Harriers and George Routledge and his team who designated a course on the former Rising Sun colliery reclaimed land in Wallsend and over the past few months it was all systems go so much so that the Newcastle club held their club championships over the course the previous weekend to iron out any expected problems.

So, everything was in place and on the day even the weatherman couldn’t be faulted though there were a number of extremely muddy sections to go with the ‘slight’ inclines to make it a true cross-country test.

Despite athletes on occasions loath to make the journey to the ‘far North’ a satisfying entry of over 300 from across the UK were received equally divided across the two races on the programme

Amongst those who made the trip included a host of Britain’s leading masters’ such as Teviotdale’s Alastair Walker, Angela Copson (Rugby and Northampton) and Kent AC’s Clare Elms, the latter part of a strong contingent from the south coast club who graced the North East scenery and test themselves against the region’s best.

The opening race was for females and male 65 and over and it was great to see the Charnwood Potter twins (F40) Juliet and Jane at the head of affairs and still active after being leading athletes throughout the younger age groups. Julie, who had finished in 20th place in the previous weekend’s Inter-Counties XC Championships, quickly headed the field and at the completion of the first of two circuits had established a 300-metres lead with her sister, a former National junior XC champion, in second place 20 metres or so ahead of Walker. 

Credit: Stuart Whitman

Juliet continued to cut out a lone furrow on the run for home as Walker, despite losing a shoe at one stage, managed to reel in Jane in the final kilometre to cross the line over a minute adrift of the winner and claim the M65 title. Completing the F40 podium places was Samantha Davies of Easingwold. Leading NE finishers in the section were Claremont’s Sarah Kerr, who finished in 21st place overall followed by Vicki Gibbs (NSP) who was 22nd and Heaton’s Ellen Tullo (32).

It was a clean sweep for NE representatives in the F35 with the gold medal going to Heaton’s Ellie Reed who held off Gateshead’s Kim Grimoldby by 11 seconds with Claire Harlow (NSP) completing the one-two-three. Nine of the 10 finishers were NE club members

Credit: Stuart Whitman

In the F45 section North Shields Poly’s Steph Maclean Dann made a brave bid for victory but in the end had to give way to Kent AC’s Caimhe Nic Fhogartaig with Alison Dargie (Tyne Bridge) back in action again after a spell on the sidelines, making it onto the podium in third place. Elswick pair Judith Nutt and Felicity Smith were next across the line followed by Jarrow and Hebburn’s Claire Simpson.

Credit: Stuart Whitman

Kathryn Stephenson (Tyne Bridge), a late call up into the NE team for last weekend’s Inter Counties Championships, finished a superb fifth overall to claim the F50 gold medal finishing ahead of Rachel Cooke (Buckingham and Stowe) with New Marske’s Sharon Bulman claiming the bronze award. Next NE finishers were Arabella Pearce Elswick, who was 5th, Pat Speedie (New Marske) 6th, Nina Cameron (Heaton) 7th and Elswick’s Andrea Banner who was 8th.

Credit: David Aspin

Defending F55 champion and multi British, European and World titles to her name, Clare Elms, justified favouritism by retaining her title though Jackie Murdie (South Shields) pushed her all the way with only 15 seconds separating the pair at the line. North Shields Poly’s Katherine Davis was a clear third. New Marske’s Kath Aspin finished fifth ahead of Birtley’s Julie Turner (6th) and seventh-placed Julie Cross (Claremont).

Credit: David Aspin

Alnwick supporters were celebrating as Carole Page peaked at the right time to claim the F60 title winning comfortably from Bingley’s former F45, F50, F55 and F60 champion, Sue Cordingley  with multi-medallist and England Masters’ international, Heather Robinson (Jarrow and Hebburn) making it onto the podium once again in third place. Elvet Striders’ Susan Davis finished fourth ahead of team-mate Heather Raistrick and Heaton’s Jenny Friend.

Credit: David Aspin

Doncaster’s Caroline Wheelhouse came out on top in the F65 section finishing ahead of Durham City’s Christine Woods and Marian Hesketh (Preston) while Linden Nicholson (Lasswade) led home Heaton’s Janette Kilgour to claim the F70 title.  One of the world’s leading masters’ athletes, Angela Copson (Rugby and Northampton) had no difficulty in retaining her F75 crown despite having contested the Whitley Bay Parkrun a few hours earlier!

Credit: David Aspin

Credit: David Aspin

Multi World record breaker Alastair Walker had no difficulty in claiming the M65 gold medal with Bishop Stortford’s Jonathan Haynes finishing runner-up. Completing the medallists was Doncaster’s Kevin Newman while Morpeth’s Gavin Bayne was the pick of the region’s representatives finishing ahead of Geoff Davis (Elvet Striders) and David Nicholson (Morpeth).

Credit: Stuart Whitman

Fife’s Tony Martin headed the M70 section with Tyne Bridge pair Sandy Anderson and Keith Graham leading the NE charge in fifth and sixth place respectively ahead of Claremont’s Ken McCormick and Heaton’s Colin McEntee.

Credit: David Aspin

Credit: David Aspin

Scotland celebrated again when Alex Sutherland (Inverness) claimed the M75 title ahead of Salford’s Stanley Owen and Stewart Thorpe (Oxford City) with Morpeth’s Paul Bentley finishing just outside of the medals in fourth spot and ahead of John Hindmarsh (Tyne Bridge) and George Routledge who managed to take a break from his organising duties. After finishing George got his video equipment out to cover the second race despite his earlier exertions!

Credit: David Aspin

In the M80 age group Michael Barnes came out on top ahead of Mac Stephenson (South Shields) and Heaton’s Bill Brown while evergreen pair Ian Barnes (Darlington) and Morpeth’s Walter Ryder locked horns once again to claim first and second place respectively in the M85 age group.

Credit: Stuart Whitman

Credit: David Aspin

The second race on the programme was for male 35 to 60 over three laps a distance of approx, 9k and it proved to be a ‘winner’ for NE athletes. 

Credit: Stuart Whitman

Despite the course being ankle deep in mud in places it didn’t deter Tyneside-based Jarlath McKenna (M40) taking an early lead and after the first circuit had a 30m cushion over Middlesbrough and Cleveland’s Greg Jayasuriya with Grant Baillie (East Kilbride) heading the next group which included Stephen Jackson (Sunderland), Gateshead’s Conrad Franks and Kent’s Jonathan Tipper. On lap two McKenna, who was first counter for the NE in the previous week’s Inter Counties Championships, surged further ahead and on hearing the bell had extended his advantage to around 300m. Jayasuriya was still in second place with Baillie third ahead of the hard-working Jackson.

Credit: Stuart Whitman

Credit: Stuart Whitman

Credit: Stuart Whitman

McKenna, who competes in the Bristol and West colours, came home to a grand round of applause from those lining the finishing straight to break the finishing tape in 29min 12secs and claim the M40 title. Jayasuriya crossed the line to take the M35 gold medal as Jackson came home in third place to receive the M35 silver medal ahead of Franks with his Gateshead team-mate Dave Richardson finishing fourth ahead of Tyne Bridge’s Craig Jones. Baillie received the M40 silver medal behind McKenna with Tipper edging out Ben Cook (NSP) to claim third place.

Credit: Terry Scott

Credit: Terry Scott

The M45 category proved to be a close affair with victory going to Phil Tedd (Thames Hare and Hounds) who got the verdict over Leeds’ Mike Burrell by just six seconds with fellow Leeds City and former Gateshead Harrier Alan Buckley completing the one-two-three. First NE finisher was Gosforth’s Andrew Heppell in seventh place followed by Nigel Simpson (Birtley) eighth and Elvet pair Michael Littlewood and Lindsay McEwan in ninth and tenth place respectively.

Credit: Stuart Whitman

The M50 section was won by Cambuslang’s Stephen Wylie who headed North Shields Poly’s Michael Parkinson and Alasdair Tatham (North York Moors) with fourth-placed James Allen (Alnwick) heading a strong NE contingent of Lee Bennett (Morpeth), David Moir (Tyne Bridge), James Duthie (Wallsend), Steven Gordon (Sunderland), Chris Waite (NSP) and Morpeth’s Jason Dawson.

Credit: Stuart Whitman

It was a Scotland one-two in the M55 age group with victory going to Cumbernauld’s Walter Henderson who had 13 seconds in hand over Chris Upson (Cambuslang) at the line with Mark Tennyson (Guildford and Godalming) in third place. Pick of the region’s representatives was Tynedale’s John O’Reilly who finished in fifth place, one place ahead of Alnwick’s Rob Andrew.

Credit: Stuart Whitman

The biggest winning margin of the day came in the M60 category with Cambuslang’s Colin Donnelly taking the title by over two minutes with North Shields Poly’s Greg finishing in second place ahead of Donnelly’s Scottish team-mate Colin Feechan. Sunderland’s Paul Merrison just missed out on a medal after finishing fourth while Durham City’s Steve Everett was next NE finisher in sixth position.

Credit: David Aspin


M35: 1 Gateshead 96:54; 2 Tyne Bridge 97:23; 3 North Shields Poly 98:00; 4 Sunderland 1:40:41; 5 NSP B 1:43:02; 6 Elvet Striders 1:45:12.

M45: 1 Leeds City 97:58; 2 Morpeth 1:50:51; 3 Tyne Bridge 1:50:57; 4 Salford 1:52:05; 5 Heaton 1:56:40; 6 Wallsend 1:58:05. 

M55: 1 Cambuslang 1:44:38; 2 Guildford & G 1:49:19; 3 Cumbernauld 1:50:30.

M65: 1 Warrington 80:39; 2 Morpeth 89:10; 3 Tyne Bridge 1:56:41.

F35: 1 North Shields Poly 76:43; 2 Wallsend 83:12; 3 Tyne Bridge 84:27.

F45: 1 Tyne Bridge 77:28; 2 Elswick 79:52; 3 New Marske 82:05.

F55: 1 Elvet Striders 95:49; 2 Blyth 1:41:14.

F65: 1 Tyne Bridge 2:24:45.


**With all the praise received on the day for a well-organised championships, it could well be that the event may return to Wallsend in the not-to-distant future. So, well done to all who had an input especially hosts Heaton Harriers and all the local technical officials, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

Credit: Stuart Whitman

Full Results: https://www.nemaa.co.uk/results1/bmaf-xc-results-2023

Stuart Whitman Photos: Women & M65 Men 35-60

Friday 17 March 2023

Intercounties Report by Bill McGuirk


The region’s representatives at the Inter-County Cross-Country Championships held at the rolling countryside of Prestwood Hall, Loughborough, proved a huge test for many and while there were numerous fine individual performances making it onto the podium as team medallists was extremely rare with only the under-13 squad officially being awarded bronze awards though the under-20 women were also called up to receive the same colour medals though the unofficial results has the North East finishing in fourth place.

The Midlands venue had recovered from heavy snow which thawed meaning parts of the course was a sea of mud in places once the action got underway with the under-20 men’s event. 

Josh Blevins, the current county champion and runner-up on the same course in 2018 in the under-15 event, was quickly into his stride and was in the leading pack showing no sign of weariness despite having left his North Tyneside home at 5am. At the end of a gruelling 8k the Gateshead athlete finished in a superb 10th place leading the under-20 team to miss out on team medals in fourth place with the other scorers being James Tilley, Josh McKenny, who was a late call-up, and Matthew Walton.

Next off were the under-13 girls and much was expected of the squad and they duly delivered despite the fact it was their first outing in a county vest for many. Olivia Murphy, the Northern champion, led the medal charge with a superb seventh-place finish with Birtley team-mates Nell and Kitty Graham, together with Houghton’s Kathryn Pye, making it a happy quartet on the podium. 

The senior women were next to face the starter for a contest over 8k with team manager Lynn Cooper having to make three late changes to the original squad. However, those who were drafted in did not let the side down as last weekend’s NEHL winner Charlotte Penfold produced the run of her short cross-country life with an excellent 23rd-place finish which produced a comment from the former

Commonwealth Games 800m finalist of: “I’m absolutely delighted with that, I certainly did not expect that at all for, as you know I was walking with a moon boot on a couple of months ago so to finish so high up is awesome, I can’t believe it.” Backing up Penfold in the six to score contest were Catriona MacDonald, Amy Fuller, Jacqueline Penn, Katheryn Stevenson and Molly Pace to close in the team in 19th place.

Video of Senior Women's race here: https://fb.watch/jkko4qo1kc/

The under-15 boys were next up over a distance of 4k and it proved to be the closest the NE came to an individual medal as Oliver Calvert just missed out after finishing in a superb fourth place. Always up with the leaders the Morpeth athlete just fell away in the closing stages to cross the line just 10 seconds behind the winner and two seconds adrift of third place, the Scottish cross-country champion. It was mixed amotions after I caught up with the Northern silver medallist who said: “While I’m quite happy with my run I felt the wheels came off a bit near the end. Fourth place is good but I would have liked to have made the podium.” Helping the North East to seventh team behind Calvert were Dawit Asmelash, Oliver Tomlinson and Daniel Watson.

The Under-17 women faced a distance of 5k and it was county champion and Northern silver medallist Charlotte Dillon who carried on her good form to finish just outside the top 10 in 11th place and just 25 seconds behind the bronze medallist. The team finished in 19th position with Imogen Bungay, Poppy Old and Iona Johnstone backing up Durham City’s Dillon.

The under-17 men were next up facing a distance of 6k and the team came agonisingly close to making it on to the podium once again but unfortunately had to settle for another fourth place. However, Houghton’s Brandon Pye had a ‘blinder’ leading the team with a superb fifth place missing out on an individual medal by just four seconds. Backing Pye in the four-to-score contest were Morpeth trio William De Vere-Owen (12th), Liam Roche (45th) and Joe Dixon (50th). 

The under-13 boys contested the same 3k course as the girls and it was Noah Williamson (NE Project) who led the team home in 16th place with Darlington’s Rowan Steele next in 40th spot followed by Heaton’s James Sturman (58th) and Darlington’s Finn Pentland-Rice (104th) to close in with 218 points for eighth place.

The under-20 women were called to the line for their 6k contest and it was North Shields Poly’s Holly Waugh who led the North East charge to finish in an excellent 18th place, one spot behind former National under-15 champion Holly Weedall. Backing up Waugh were

Morpeth’s Millie Breese (37th), Tynedale’s Jess Sailes (46th) and Birtley’s Tess Graham (48th) for a total of 149 points. However, the provisional result had Yorkshire first with 45pts followed by Sussex and Greater Manchester who had 147pts. But at the presentation the North East quartet were called up to receive the bronze medals so it means to be seen how that came about though it would be disappointing if the girls had to hand back their awards.

The penultimate race on the programme was the under-15 girls over a distance of 4k with the course now well and truly resembling a mud bath in many sections which proved extremely tough going for the young teenagers. Darlington’s Zara Jones in 49th place led the region’s charge ably backed up by Durham City’s Grace Carter (93rd), Middlesbrough Mandale’s Eden Creasey (143rd) and Gosforth’s Annie Hutchinson (159th) to total 444pts for 24th place out of 42 teams which finished.

The final event was the senior men’s contest over a distance of 10k and it was a depleted squad which faced the starter after more than half of the original selections dropping out through injury giving team manager a huge headache. However, those who were drafted in certainly didn’t let the side down with all eight members finishing inside the top 150 from around 300 finishers. Tyneside-based Jarleth McKenna once again shone in his adopted county vest to lead the team home in 29th place just five places back from his position last year,which augurs well for this coming weekend’s British Masters’ Championships which are being held in Wallsend on Saturday.

Backing up the adopted Geordie in the six-to-score contest were Birtley’s Adrian Bailes (60th), Middlesbrough and Cleveland’s Greg Jayasuriya (68th), Morpeth’s Sam Hancox (87th), Sunderland’s Stephen Jackson (101st) and Blackhill’s Jordan Bell (124th) for a total of 470pts and ninth place overall out of the 32 counties who closed in which, on reflection, was a great achievement.

**A huge thanks to team managers Stewy Bell and Albert James (men) and Lynn Cooper and Bernadette Caygill (women) for pulling everything together prior to and on the day and to all the parents and friends who made the trip, the NECAA really appreciate your support and hopefully we will see many of you again next year.




Senior Men – North East positions: 29 J McKenna (Bris&West) 42:22; 59 A Bailes (Birt) 40:44; 67 G Jayasuriya (M&C) 40:59; 87 S Hancox (Morp) 41:26; 100 S Jackson (Sund) 41:43; 123 J Bell (B’hillB) 42:13; 138 C Coulson (Hough) 42:46; 143 M Hedley (TyneBr) 42:52. Team:

9th, 465pts.

Senior Women – NE positions: 23 C Penfold (NSP) 33:46; 41 C MacDonald (Morp) 34:54; 67 A Fuller (TyneBr) 36:01; 90 J Penn (NSP) 36:34; 106 K Stevenson (TyneBr) 37:06; 113 M Pace (NSP) 37:20; 117 J Fox (Sund) 37:31; 132 K Grimoldby (Gates) 37:49. Team: 10th, 440pts.

Under-20 Men – NE positions: 10 J Blevins (Gates) 29:17; 34 J Tilley (Morp) 30:42; 38 J McKenny (J&H) 30:49; 44 M Walton (Morp) 31:03; 50 A Hughes ((Sund) 31:14; 58 D Hughes (BhillB) 31:43; 61 S Christie (Gosf) 31:48; 95 A Seed (Sund) 32:56. Team: 4th, 126pts.

Under-20 Women – NE positions:  18 H Waugh (NSP) 25:09; 37 M Breese (Morp) 26:00; 46 J Sails (Tyne) 26:21; 48 T Graham (Birt) 26:26; 56 K Francis (Birt) 27:15; 59 M Boon (Darl) 27:36; 62 E White (SthShTri) 27:44. Team: 4th, 149pts.

Under-17 Men – NE positions: 5 B Pye (Hough) 20:41; 12 W De Vere-Owen (Morp) 29:55; 45 L Roche (Morp) 21:49; 50 J Dixon (Morp) 21:56; 74 B Marr (Morp) 22:19; 76 B Sproats (NSP) 22:20; 123 E Kelso (Morp) 23:05; 135 J West (Midd/Mand) 23:15. Team: 4th, 112pts.

Under-17 Women – NE positions: 11 C Dillon (DurC) 21:30; 56 I Bungay (Elsw) 23:05; 66 P Old (Elsw) 23:17; 68 I Johnstone (Gates) 23:21; 92 E Fellows (Blay) 23:44; 110 E Ashman (Gosf) 24:04; 126 J Milburn (Gates) 24:18; 146 M Kelly (Darl) 24:38. Team: 19th, 201pts.

Under-15 Boys – NE positions: 4 O Calvert (Morp) 14:20; 42 D Asmelash (TS Harr) 15:18; 50

O Tomlinson (Morp) 15:24; 80 D Watson (NSP) 15:47; 119 J Brown (Midd/Mand) 16:00; 128

F Palmer (TyneBr) 16:06; 176 M Riddell (Tyne) 16:28; 180 M Maley (NSP) 16:33. Team: 7th; 176pts.

Under-15 Girls – NE positions: 49 Z Jones (Darl) 17:27; 93 G Carter (DurC) 18:09; 143 E Creasey (Mid/Mand) 18:38; 159 A Hutchinson (Gosf) 18:46; 164 M Parkin (Heat) 18:51; 186 P Wilde (Elsw) 19:01; 221 S Tarn (Darl) 19:40. Team: 24th, 444pts.

Under-13 Boys – NE positions: 16 N Williamson (NE Pro} 12:40; 40 R Steel (Darl) 13:02; 58 J Sturman (NSP) 13:12; 104 F Pentland-Rice (Darl) 13:37; 109 M Foster (Darl) 13:45; 122 E Line (Morp) 13:53; 129 A Smith (Heat) 13:57; 154 J Brown (Heat) 14:06. Team: 8th, 218pts.

Under-13 Girls – NE positions: 7 O Murphy (Birt) 13:20; 24 N Graham (Birt) 13:42; 27 K Graham (Birt) 13:48; 59 K Pye (Hough) 14:12; 65 N Phillipson (Birt) 14:16; 75 K Otterson

(NSP) 14:26; 109 E Blackburn (Gates) 14:45; 113 E Waugh (Alnw) 14:47. Team: 3rd, 117pts.



Friday 10 March 2023

NEHL Alnwick Castle 2023 Race Report



Under the backdrop of the iconic Alnwick Castle the curtain came down on another hugely thriving Start Fitness Harrier League programme. The final fixture, once again hosted admirably by Alnwick Harriers, attracted close to 1,300 competitors giving a total of around 8,000 spread over the six contests over the winter months which signifies how popular the unique format of the league is which was compounded by the comments of many on a day when the weather Gods were kind as they have been for most of the campaign. With promotion and relegation places finally to be decided there were clubs who were celebrating and some who were not but at the end of the day the camaraderie among athletes was still in evidence whichever way you turned long after the results were checked on iPhones throughout the tented village.



Senior Men – Morpeth’s Matthew Briggs led for two of the three circuits before being overtaken mid-way through the final lap by Durham City’s Morgan Kendall who went on to win by eight seconds.

North Shields Poly’s Alex Black finished in third place while Marcus Chantry, running as a guest in Durham City’s colours, recorded the fastest time of the day after working his way through to fifth place from a five-minute handicap. Second quickest was Houghton’s Chris Coulson followed by Conrad Franks (Gateshead) and Kendall. 

North Shields Poly led the team stakes on the day while Tyne Bridge just edged out Morpeth by eight points for second spot, a result which was still good enough though for the Northumbrians to retain their Division One title for another year. Tyne Bridge finished second with Gateshead third. At the other end of the table, Newcastle clubs Elswick and Heaton are unfortunately relegated with Durham City and Saltwell promoted from Division Two with Gosforth and South Shields dropping down to Division Three to be replaced by Tynedale and Blyth. 

Kieran Walker (North East Project) topped the Individual Grand Prix points table followed by Conrad Franks and Tyne Bridge’s Michael Hedley. Tyneside-based Jarlath McKenna (Bristol and West) was leading vet with maximum points finishing ahead of Sunderland’s Michael Barker and Blackhill’s Gary Wallace.


Senior Women – Former internationals Charlotte Penfold (North Shields Poly) and Elswick’s Justina Heslop dominated from the front of the two-lap contest with the former celebrating having posted the fastest time of the day as she crossed the line nearly two minutes clear of the Newcastle athlete who was 44-years-old the day before. Always at the head of affairs Penfold’s advantage increased with every stride, a result which augurs well for this weekend’s Inter Counties Cross-Country Championships where she will be making her North East debut. 

Jessica Eaton (Tyne Bridge) claimed the third place award while second quickest on the course was Morpeth’s Jane Hodgson who finished in seventh position after working through the field from a five-minute penalty. Kathryn Stevenson (Tyne Bridge) who is also in the NE team for Loughborough, was third fastest. 

Tyne Bridge headed Jesmond Joggers by four points to take team honours on the day with Wallsend in third place with the Newcastle club edging out Morpeth by one point to claim the Division One title with the Jesmond outfit finishing in third spot. Jarrow and Hebburn and Elvet Striders are relegated with Heaton beating the drop by one point. South Shields and Durham City are promoted while Birtley and Low Fell are relegated to Division Three with Sunderland Strollers and a delighted Stockton Striders taking their place in Division Two. 

The top individual award goes to Morpeth’s Cat MacDonald for the second year running as Houghton’s Eva Hardie claimed second place ahead of Shona Haston (Gateshead). Jane Hodgson was leading vet ahead of Morpeth team-mate Morag Stead with Claire Davies (Stocksfield Striders) finishing in third place.


Under-17 Men – David Carr (Tyne Bridge) made full use of a two minutes and five seconds start to claim a clear victory as the fast pack athletes’ closed in behind. William De Vere-Owen (Morpeth) came closest to hauling in the leader to finish in second place with the day’s quickest time. Gosforth’s Ethan Bond crossed the line in third spot recording the second fastest figures with fourth-placed Bertie Marr (Morpeth) third quickest. 

Once again Morpeth won the team race comfortably with Tyne Bridge second and Gosforth third. The strong Morpeth squad won all six fixtures so no surprise to lift the trophy again with Birtley and Durham City finishing on the same number of points with the former awarded second place on countback. De Vere-Owen, with maximum points, claimed the individual Grand Prix top award followed by Ethan Bond and Blackhill’s Tom Slane.


Under-17/20 Women – North Shields Poly’s Amelie Sillence claimed a narrow victory by four seconds as Houghton’s Anna Pigford moved through to second place from a 2:05 handicap. Third across the line was the Poly’s Mili Diddee while second fastest under-20 on the course was Morpeth’s Millie Breese followed by Birtley’s Katie Francis. 

Quickest under-17 was Aofie Bell of Gateshead followed by Imogen Bungay (Elswick) and Gateshead’s Iona Johnstone. North Shields Poly claimed the team award ahead of Gosforth and Gateshead. Gateshead, however, claimed the overall team trophy finishing one point ahead of Gosforth with the Poly two points further adrift in third place. Durham City’s Charlotte Dillon missed the action in Alnwick but nevertheless claimed the individual Grand Prix with maximum points finishing ahead of Pigford and Bungay.


Under-15 Boys – Morpeth’s Oliver Calvert defied a 1min 40sec handicap to win by 19 seconds with Houghton’s Josh Dunning hanging on to claim second spot ahead of the fast-finishing Liam McDonough of host club Alnwick. Daniel Watson (North Shields Poly) was third quickest on the course finishing in fifth place. 

Morpeth won the team contest finishing ahead of North Shields Poly and Blaydon. Morpeth, who never finished out of the top three all season, comfortably won the team title finishing ahead of the Poly and Tyne Bridge while Calvert claimed the individual title with maximum points with McDonough and Oliver Tomlinson (Morpeth) finishing on the same number of points behind with the Alnwick athlete getting the nod for second place on countback.


Under-15 Girls – It was one-two for the Poly with Ruby Dann taking advantage of a 1min 40sec start to claim the gold medal as teammate Anna Johnson followed her home with the day’s quickest time after just managing to haul in Niamah Michla (Tyne Bridge) close to home. Mary Parkin (Heaton) finished in fourth place with the second best time behind Johnson with Daisy Graham (Birtley) next best in fifth position. 

North Shields Poly headed Tyne Bridge and Elswick to claim team honours on the day while the overall title went to Tynedale with the Poly in second place and Elswick third. Mary Parkin claimed the overall individual award finishing one point ahead of Tynedale’s Ania Stobbart with Durham City’s Grace Carter just two points further adrift in third spot.


Under-13 Boys – Morpeth’s James Rothwell made full use of a 1min 40sec start to claim an impressive victory as North Shields Poly’s James Sturman cut back the deficit to 21 seconds at the line.

Tynedale’s Wilfred Pugh, with the day’s second quickest time behind Sturman, completed the one-two-three. Morpeth’s Ewan Line, who crossed the line in fifth position, was third fastest. 

Alnwick won the team section on the day followed by Morpeth and Heaton. Blaydon, who finished fourth on the day, topped the final league table finishing well clear of Tynedale and Sunderland while the top individual award goes to North East Project’s Noah Williamson who finished with maximum points to finish ahead of Sturman and Heaton’s Alexander Smith.


Under-13 Girls – Nell Graham (Birtley) and Houghton’s Kathryn Pye turned round a 1min 40sec handicap to finish first and second with Florence Snaith (Tyne Bridge) completing the podium places. Third quickest on the course was Birtley’s Niamh Phillipson after crossing the line in fourth place. 

Tyne Bridge were clear winners of the team contest with Gosforth getting the verdict on countback over Gateshead for second spot. Gateshead, however, claimed the overall title over their Newcastle rivals with Elswick finishing in third place ahead of the Poly. Topping the individual Grand Prix is Kathryn Pye who claimed the title by three points over Phillipson with Morpeth’s Emma Tomlinson finishing in third place.


Under-11 Boys – As he has done throughout the season North Shields Poly’s Noah Penfold, the son of the day’s senior women’s winner, raced to another victory in the “Try Cross-Country” with Alnwick’s Finlay Waugh once again claiming second place ahead of Elswick’s Kallen O’Neil.


Under-11 Girls – For the sixth time this season Birtley duo Poppie Phillipson and Izzy Hall have claimed the top two places with Poppie getting the verdict once again over her club-mate by eight seconds. Elswick’s Millie Robson finished a close-up third. 

**Once again the NEHL committee is grateful to all the clubs who hosted a fixture; to all the technical officials and volunteer marshalls who have played their part in making the cross-country league one of the biggest and most successfully well-run competition in the country. Also thanks to the first aid team and finally to all of the competitors all 8,000 of you who have faced the starter over the past six months. The NEHL committee is already looking at dates and venues for next year so if any club feels they would like to host a fixture don’t hesitate in coming forward.



Photos - Stuart Whitman Photography

Results - Harrierleague.com