The Winter Cross Country North East Harrier League is above all a challenge. Each race has been a test of mind, body and running shoes and race 3 at Bedewell Park, Jarrow, was no exception. A cold, but not freezing, day was complimented by a large majority of the course in thick, sludgy, slippery, boggy mud. Ponteland Runners fielded 4 men’s runners and a full ladies team of 3 braving the treacherous conditions.
The men’s race had a total of 390 runners, four of them from Ponteland with first timers Chris Heppell and Nigel Baxter joining the ranks alongside cross country ‘veterans’ Jon Parkin and Adam Graham. As usual the men had a 3 lap race but this race differed to the first two races in that the start and finish line were in different places, making it very difficult to grasp where one lap finished and the next started. Coupled with a circular and winding course this made it difficult to judge whereabouts you were in order to understand building pace and gathering momentum for a strong finish. The most important part, however, was ensuring shoe laces were tight and that shoes stayed on your feet as the large boggy areas sucked your shoes away from your feet and drained all your strength from your thighs and calves! That being said Ponteland Runners ran as strong as they could and once again took it in their stride.
The ladies totalled 168 runners and it was great to see 3 Ponteland Runners making up a team for the league standings. Eva Kenny ran in her third consecutive race, Ali Guadagno in her second and Sue Heppell joined the team for the first time to complete the minimum three runners for the team. Ladies complete a 2 lap race with Ali and Sue in the slow pack (starting first) and Eva in the medium pack (starting second) 2 minutes behind the slow pack. The temperature dropped quite dramatically for the ladies race but the team pushed for a strong finish all-round. Full results below with the Ladies team finishing 8th out of the 11 teams fielded and 9th out of 12 scoring teams. The ladies now stand 10th/23 teams in division 2.
The route can be seen from Adam’s Garmin by clicking here