Alnwick, the town of my birth and the theatre of dreams for the final fixture of the harrier league. A relegation dogfight between Elvet, Ourselves, Wallsend and the Poly in the top division. Only three points between the lot of us.
I arrived early with Nina, Alyson, Tom and Alan to find HQ established by Messers Dicker and Matheson. The flag was hoisted (after a short holiday in my washing basket) , and gradually the Heaton hordes began to assemble en masse. Tea and Hot chocolate had been provided by Mark and Paramjeet, so very kind and appreciated. Jo Bell had made the Heaton Crack cocaine (Millionaire’s shortbread) fantastic as ever. It was so very cold, but when the clouds broke it was classic Alnwick.
Messers Dicker, Green and Green, Langford, Bell Fuller, McEntee (senior out to support), Duguid, Oliver, Hetherington, McKenzie, Robinson, Sturman, Norman, Meader, Smith, Slater, and Batey all took to the start line.
A sharper Heaton field has probably not lined up in front of George Patterson all season and we all knew what we had to do. McEntee, Fuller and Sturman with Bell in close chase led the Heaton runners from the slow pack. I kept hunting Elvet and Wallsend runners but saw few poly runners.
The intermittent snow was only a problem at the climb on the far end of the course with it coming into your eyes horizontally (thank god for the safety glasses). The boggy section on the climb was as it says on the tin, bleeding boggy. The run through the forest lonnen was lush, hardcore had been dropped at the worst boggy spots from last year and it was sooooo much faster. The downhill was absolutely splendid with enough moisture to give bounce but not enough to slip.
Into leg two Scotty was leading us still with a battle going on with Wayne and John for 2 and 3rd, Gary 4th counter and Bobby 5th counter. I managed to get past Bobby on the climb and push on, swapping 6th for 5th place.
Leg three saw our fast packers make their way through, and on the climb, Tigger, Matt and Robbo all came past me. The snow was coming down thick and fast along through the top section but we all ploughed on.
It finished thus with our esteemed Captain Scot, running a captains race and leading the team home to another season in Div one( and promoted to medium pack in the process ), Tigger next from fast pack, Matt from fast pack , Wayne and John from slow after a huge tussle all race and our final counter Robbo from fast( please note how few FP runners got through to count overall). But our other runners ran fantastically also the Heaton B team finished above Tyne bridge, Durham City and Birtley, A teams.
The Heaton C team finishing above many of our rivals B teams. But always remember We all counted!
Most importantly we showed the ethos that typifies Heaton Harriers, sportsmanship, friendliness to our fellow competitors and team spirit. Very much a band of brothers and I look forward to lining up beside you all next season.