Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers stormed to their second cross country league success at the tough windswept Whitby course.
Following on from victory at Acklam the club’s athletes were well motivated and it showed in all events including the new junior section.
This NYSD event is a proper cross country route taking athletes over undulating fields, a fast stretch of old railway line with a hairpin bend that breaks the stride then a quick duck under a viaduct to hit a wall of a hill.
After the leg sapping hill a rough patch of ground is encountered followed by open fields totally exposed to the elements, surprisingly even after a wet week the ground was quite firm.
The men had to endure three laps (9.3k), women one large plus medium lap (5.4k) and juniors from 3.6k to 1.2 k.
In the Ladies race veteran Tracey Waller (22.10) led the team home with another outstanding run finishing second to under 17 Bronwen Owen from Scarborough who is one of the top young runners in the country. Tracey’s run was even more remarkable after tweaking a hamstring during the race.
A battle was going on behind with Sarah Black and Sharon Stephenson, Sharon’s mid race surge took her past Sarah creating a good gap but Sarah fought back over the final stages timing her sprint finish to take her past her rival with 100 metres to go.
Sharon’s race fitness is returning so more close encounters will follow, they finished 15th (24.45) and 17th (24 51).
Fighting very hard against Loftus rivals Lesley Strickland knew she had to dig deep to bring the team home, being fourth and final counter the pressure was on,
Lesley nailed it with a gritty determined spirit, she managed to find that extra pace needed to complete the team in 26th (27.01). The next three ladies had their own battle over the course, Lucy Claber, Helen Wilson and Jan Naisbitt were attached by an elastic band for most of the first lap.
Lucy was the first one to make it stretch lifting the pace and when Helen pulled away from Jan it finally snapped, all three put in solid performances,
Lucy was 33rd (28.43) Helen 38th (29.19) and Jan 41st (29.50).
Emma Watson 46th (31.35) and Sam Dixon 48th in their first cross country season ran strongly showing what can be achieved with training which hopefully will encourage other Burn Road ladies to take part.
Strength in depth again secured a team win for the men with an exceptional run from Barry Coulter who was on fire for 10th spot spot (34.50)
Barry took it all in his stride for the first half of the race letting others force the pace, he then gradually worked his way past teammates continuing until a comfortable gap appeared even then he had to keep the power on digging very deep for a sprint finish that took him to the limit. Richard Darling is a fine athlete who can only race for Burn Road when he is in the area, he is always one to watch taking and excellent 12th place (35.32).
Mick Lamb had his work cut out, after a fast start and the gruelling laps taking their toll he had to keep off the attentions of team-mate Ben Ward who is showing some superb form pushing Mick all the way, they finished 13th (35.52) and 15th (36.05). Formidable Darren Armstrong 17th (36.32) had another strong run, he is really enjoying the challenge of keeping a team place.
Closing the gap and showing his improved strength was class act Paul Stephenson bringing the team home in 18th (36.50).
Each and everyone who was in the team’s wake gave 100 per cdent effort finishing thus: Bryan Astill 24th (37.21), Andrew Minister 29th (37.51), Simon Bennett 30th (37.53), Gareth Foreman 32nd (38.20), Davey Lake 36th (38.47), Jason Bland 45th (39.46), Karl Edwards 47th (39.56), Ian Cook 50th (40.10), Jack Hutton 53rd (44.44), Andrew Elsdon 84th (45.45), David Kirk 85th (45.58), Neal Gillson 88th (46.57), Peter Johnson 91st (48.13), Stephen Armstrong 95th (53.51).
In the Under 11 boys race, Joe Coulter, Sam Coulter and Dylan Appleby were the Burn Road Three,
Joe led them around the course in full swing finishing 10th (5.11) his second top 10 placing in the league.
Dylan’s great run saw him battling it out for position coming in next for 17th (5.35), Joe’s younger brother Sam brought the team home with a brilliant sprint finish, he crossed the line in 22nd place (6.05).
That was a great start to the junior events and supporters had just enough time to catch their breath before the Under 13 girls race. Here the girls ran 3k of the course which sees them tackling a very large hill just before the end of the race.
This hill is not for the faint-hearted. Alex Lamb in her second season cruised round the course crossing the line for 18th (15.51). Eve Dixon powered round the course in 19.53 for 22nd place and Grace Gilhespy gritted her teeth and dug deep for 23rd (21.56).
Eve and Grace only in their second ever race showed great character over this difficult 3k route.
The girls finished fourth in the team event – the first Under 13s HBRH Girls Team to score at an NYSD League Fixture.
Robin Caswell, an all-round athlete who cycles and is a karate exponent, was next to race in the U15s Boys 3.6K Race,
Robin had a great run to finish in 21st (16.16).
Regan Morrison covered the same distance in the Under 15s girls race for 26th proved herself to have great strength of character.