The week leading up to the 3rd round of NEHL XC saw local news reports of freezing temperatures with sleet and snow hitting the northeast by the weekend. The weather apps showed a cool dry day! So which was it to be? Susan Dorani provides a great race report with all the information.
Waking up to rain lashing against my window and a phone full of messages about snow and sleet I realised the local news forecast was correct. The hardened XC runners among us pray for this weather and I know they see this as character building! As I began to prepare myself for the ‘mudfest’ images of Herrington park and Alnwick began to fill my head with dread.
On arrival at Gosforth Park it had brightened up and the ground seemed dry and firm. Maybe it wasn’t going to be muddy after all.
We made our way to the 2 Ponteland tents to meet the other runners where there was lots of talk about spikes versus trail shoes and layers or not! There wasn’t much time before the ladies were soon summoned for the start of the race.
The gun sounded for the majority of us in the slow pack and off we went. Abby and Laura (making her medium pack debut) followed slightly later.
I’ve taken part in many children’s cancer runs at Gosforth Park over the years and thought this run was going to be flat but oh no they added a hill, not too steep but even so it was a hill! The course took us through the trees, through a massive puddle, up a hill and across fields. I saw Abby pass me through the trees but hadn’t spotted Laura. Little did I know but she’d tripped on a tree root and twisted her ankle resulting in her debut ending after 4.30 mins!
Heading back to the start at the end of the first lap I could hear the calls of encouragement from Kelly and the Pont men. The support does give you a boost to carry on. Heading to the start of the 2nd lap I came across Grace who had also twisted her ankle and fallen in the trees. She so wanted to continue but was obviously in pain and made the correct decision to withdraw from the race (2 down).
The 2nd lap was a repeat of the first and I thoroughly enjoyed running through that muddy puddle second time round.
Elaine was our first lady back followed by Abby, Heidi and Esme. The ladies are now in joint 5th position in division 3.
Not long after my finish the men set off on their first lap of 3. After grabbing a cuppa and a piece of corned beef pie we headed off to cheer on the men with cowbells, maracas and drums and some very loud voices. I’m sure we are becoming the most musical supporters.
James Leiper was first man back followed by Rob Holt, Roland, David Stroud, Neil and Mathew Levison. The men retain 2nd place in division 3. Congratulations(??) to James Leiper and Rob Holt on their promotions to medium and fast pack respectively.
Post race we found that Chris Kenyon had also tripped on a tree root and fallen into a puddle in the trees. He sustained cuts to his leg but thankfully didn’t have to withdraw from the race.
Once everyone was back at the tents it was time to sample and judge the baking by the men. A great effort was made by the men this week and the ladies have a lot to do next time to stay in the competition. Savoury and sweet bakes had been made and Star Baker was awarded to Matty Bell for his corned beef pie.
The competition is now on between Matty and Mick. After taking the title for best sausage rolls from Matty, Mick was heard saying that he was going to make corned beef pie next time! There were also 2 boxes of mince pies and some doughnuts that had been packaged using Tesco and M&S wrappers but I’ve been assured that they were home made!
There was great running by all club members. I think we all enjoyed the course and look forward to seeing this as a permanent fixture in the future.