Aykley Heads: Race report.

Ladies report from Nina

When you say “Aykley Heads” to a cross country runner there are three words which spring to mind: two of them are “mud” and “hills”. The third is best not printed. After a dry week we woke to a sunny day on Saturday. These factors spread confusion and perplexity over the North East running community: spikes (and, if so, what length) or trails? There was many a conversation of this type amongst the tents, sometimes moving on to the “base layer or no base layer” debate. Exhausted by such intense decision making prior to the start, I was glad I was in the medium pack for my extra bonus 2 minutes of standing around in the cold before I had to race.

Conditions were, as billed, very dry so the going was fast. The course is an excellent one with many ups and downs, twists and turns and general interest. Heaton ladies once again had a good turnout. Everyone ran their hearts out. Particularly pleasing was welcoming two new ladies to the team: Dani and Hannah both had excellent races, placing 3rd and 12th respectively. These placings had a massive impact in our overall team standing. They were ably supported by our 3rd and 4th counters: Colette and Alison, who also win that double-edged sword of promotion to the mediums (there will be several of us enjoying that extra 2 minutes relaxation period standing in the cold next time).

Next in was Cristina, who had brilliant run to finish well up in the field. Louise fought her way through from the medium pack with admirable determination to finish inside the top 100. Ellen was in next, among the top 3rd of finishers, followed by the stalwarts, Chrystal and Jenny, who finished well in the top half of the field. Captain Boyd was next home, followed closely by Karen, who proved herself a valuable member of Heaton team.

We were narrowly pipped to second team on the day but retain our first place overall in division 2. Three down, three to go, all to play for. However, after lots of promotions already, we need everyone out who can possibly run for the remaining fixtures in order to secure promotion to Division 1.

And finally, how did the spikes/trail/clothing decision pan out? It actually didn’t matter one jot. Once those racing demons possess your soul you could be wearing flip-flops and a full Santa outfit for all you’d notice (but perhaps best not to put that to the test at the next fixture).


Mens report from Phil

The Chaps were massed at the start of the slow pack, however, we only had a few medium pack and two fast pack runners out…..

Gun went bang and off we hurtled, the mighty Rooney setting a splendid example with a banzai charge! Callum Mills soon settled in to lead the green and whites around the course. I was surprised to be in the second counter spot, which in itself was even more worrisome.

The undulating course and fast dry conditions held the fast pace runners off until the last lap. Then they came past.. like a herd of antelopes. I watched as so many of our rival teams cascaded past, must say my head did go down a bit. However a few cheers from the lasses dotted round the course was the perfect antidote. Onwards!

Robbo came past on the bottom straight, alongside the main line, flying like an intercity train. He has returned from injury to have a brilliant autumn season. He dragged young Callum with him and I just had to hang in and wave goodbye to them both. Robbo finished in 72 place from Fast pack, Callum was 85th from slow.  I was 104th.  Next in was Sam Thorpe from Medium in  124th, followed by Jeremy Smith in  128th and Ian Norman from Medium in 141th place. and last counter.

But as your aware being in the first 6 home for the men isn’t the be all and end all. Packing is where its at, we packed very well, pushing the other clubs back.  Really proud of the contributions made by you all.

Dan Wood 168th place

Stephen Schubeler  (wearing defective footware)  in 189th from fast pack

Alex Cook 206th

Keith Rooney  223rd

Dave Dale  231st ( and a XC fastest time, well done mate)

Les Smith 233 from Medium

Alan Langford 289th

David Slater 300rd

Andy Duguid 317th

Chris Checkley 327th

Carlton Fletcher 387th

Anthony Daglish 420th

Andy Leys 448th

Pete Chapman 454th

Thomas Green 483rd (proud Dad)

Xander Howell 489th

and the relentless force that is David Brignall bringing us home in 516th!

Colin Mc and Rob Brown had to drop out due to illness and we hope to see you both back fit and well soon.  Ben Shillitoe didnt even start, having to deal with an unwell younger female runner, who eventually was taken to hospital by her parents. The club thanks you again.

I was proud to deputise for Scotty and see you all home. We are now in 6th place in Div1. We need to see the above Heaton heroes back out racing in the last three fixtures because you were all fantastic. We also need our medium and fast pack runners turning out to race. That will be the difference between a good season and a relegation scrape in the last few fixtures. Work and family will always come first , end of story, I say that like a broken record and Les Smith will bear me out.  Being part of a club means taking one for the team sometimes, and as a ‘ harrier ‘ club that means XC, so chose your other  racing around the fixtures if possible.  To those who haven’t run yet, sign up and race.  Truly one of the finest and fun things you can do (within reason) on a field in Winter!  I look forward to seeing you all in January at the brilliant Herrington course.



Full results HERE



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