Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers enjoyed an amazing time last weekend,
Following their popular presentation night they then literally ran away with the honours in both men’s and ladies races at the first cross country event of the season.
The North Yorkshire South Durham league kicked off at the popular Acklam Grange venue which was well attended by all the clubs, 44 Burn Road athletes made the trip and were well rewarded for their efforts.
In the ladies 3.5m race Tracey Waller blew the field apart with a devastating first lap effort and then stepped it up another gear over the next undulating lap to extend her lead even further.
This emphatic win in 22.08 truly shows Tracey is full of confidence and in the form of her life.
The next three ladies made up the winning team, Sarah Black pulled a great performance out of the bag battling all the way to the finish line for an excellent 10th place (24.32).
After returning last year last year, having had a ten-year break, Sharon Stephenson has improved so much finishing in 13th (25.11), showing just what she is capable of.
Anchoring the team victory was Lesley Strickland who charged to the line in her usual style finishing 25th (26.46).
Fowllowing the team home were another magnificent seven putting in solid personal performances all battling for points: Lucy Claber 31st (27.59), Angela Lawlor 36th (28.52), Jan Naisbitt 40th (29.21), Nichola Swinbourne 42nd (29.25), Lisa Dawkins 43rd (29.26), Emma Watson 51st (31.07), Sam Dixon 62nd (33.56).
Strength in depth is definitely the correct term for Burn Road’s male squad which enabled them to win the team spot over the 6.2m undulating course.
Paul Wilson started the ball rolling with a very strong run for 6th place (38.30) gliding over the dry ground making it look easy.
Barry Coulter has just rejoined the club and hit the ground running in brilliant form.
Barry is a natural over the cross country finishing high up in 11th place (39.49).
Next up was the popular Mick Lamb with a terrier like performance as always, fighting hard right up until the finish line for 12th (40.17).
Following in Mick’s wake was Darren Armstrong who has stepped up to another level of fitness this season, he should be really pleased with his improvement finishing like a train in 16th place (40.41).
The youngest member of the squad, Ben Ward, came in next, 18th (41.12), he has just moved up to the senior race and showed real maturity getting stuck in from the gun showing his real potential.
The sixth counter completing the winning team was a rejuvenated Paul Stephenson, running injury free he powered around the four laps to finish 20th (41.57)
With the team in, the large squad following were still pushing hard, having their own personal battles with club mates and rival athletes.
Quite a few of the squad were competing for the first time over the rough stuff whilst others had seen it many times before.
The first timers were lucky with the sunshine and dry firm conditions.
The senior teams were very pleased to be supported by the strongest junior contingency for many years.
In the Under 11 Boys Race three harriers competed against teams from New Marske, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Billingham and Shildon.
Joe Coulter had a fantastic first race for the club, storming home in ninth place and covering 2K in 7.28.
Dylan Appleton and Sam Coulter were evenly matched for a lot of the race, with Dylan crossing the line first in 8.18 for 21st place, with Sam close behind in 8.25 for 22nd place. A great first race for these three athletes.
The Under 13 Girls Race was 2.8k around the course, Eve Dixon and Grace Gilhespy did extremely well in their first race for 28th (13.54) and 32nd (15.47).
Robin Caswell has more experience under his belt and knew the challenge that lay ahead.
He dug deep to finish 22nd in the Under 15 Boys Race, covering the 3.6k distance in 12.33.
Lucy Surtees and Millie Smith raced the Under 15 Girls Race, both girls had strong runs for 20th and 21st over the 3.6k in 15.14 and 16.08 respectively. Any juniors wishing to join the harriers to race the remaining five cross country races should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.