Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers celebrate NYSD cross country title


The end of the NYSD cross country season was celebrated with North-East clubs coming together for the final time for road relays around the Croft Race Circuit in Darlington.

The relay event comprised of legs around a flat track, advertised as 3.5K (2.17miles) but averaged just over two miles on Garmins.

The men had four runners per team and the women three runners per team.

The women’s event was first. The conditions were very cold with a biting wind which affected runners all the way along the back straight on the first loop and just before the finishing straight runners tackled head-on winds for a good 400metres.

Tracey Waller set off first for the women’s A Team, with Lesley Strickland first leg for B and Jane Wistow the only leg in a one-woman C team.

Tracey stormed around the course in fine style, bringing the A team home second in 12:01.

Sharon Stephenson ran A’s second leg in 13:42, maintain second position but with Darlington closing the gap.

Sarah Black took over for the final leg, 15 seconds ahead of third placed Darlington but with a strong runner chasing her.

Sarah ran a terrific leg, coming home in 13:04 to place third team overall.

A fantastic result for our three top ladies.

Lesley Strickland ran a good first leg for Team B, bringing them in in eighth place after one leg in 14:40.

Angela Lawlor pushed hard to maintain this over lap two, completing her leg in 15:44.

Lisa Dawkins ran the final lap in 15:53 to bring the team home in ninth place overall. Another great performance.

Jane Wistow enjoyed her first race back, completing her leg in 14:08.

Burn Road Men also fielded two complete teams and one incomplete team.

Paul Wilson was first for the A Team and sat up to 50 metres behind Paul Butler from Loftus and Whitby for a good part of the leg, before increasing his pace progressively over the last section of the course to almost run his competitor down.

A very impressive finish and a great race to watch, Paul finished in 10:23, one second behind the first placed team.

Paul handed over to Ben Ward who has shown fantastic form over the cross country season. Ben ran a great leg in 11:21, maintaining second place for the team but the lads were aware that third placed New Marske had their two best runners for legs three and four.

Mick Lamb ran a terrific third leg in 11:01, bringing the team in third place after being overtaken by Charlie Pasco from New Marske who ran the second fastest leg of the day (9:56).

Andy Minister worked tremendously hard to maintain third place with the exceptionally fast Greg Jayasuriya from Middlesbrough and Cleveland chasing him around the last leg.

Andy held him off with nine seconds to spare, bringing the A team home in third in 11:06.

Burn Road Men’s Team B was fronted by Cross Country Team Captain Bryan Astill who is currently longer-distance training for the Spen 20 Mile Road Race this next weekend.

He put in a great first leg bringing the team in ninth after one leg in 11:48. John Davis took on leg two, racing round the course in 11:52 the team went into eighth place and only two seconds away from seventh.

Nigel Shaw raced leg three, finishing in 14:15 with the team in tenth place with one leg to go.

Paul Stephenson was the man for the job on the day: he put in a sterling performance, storming round the course in 11:13 to bring the team home in a very credible eighth place.

Mark Armstrong had a great run after very limited training (‘training’ being a loose term for ‘running 1.7 miles a few times before the relays’), he finished his leg for incomplete team C in 12:21.

At the end of the racing, there was a presentation for the North Yorkshire South Durham Cross Country League. Burn Road Harrier’s Mens Team won the Jack Hatfield Trophy as League Winners for the second year in a row.

The club also took home the lion’s share of individual league prizes:

Ben Ward won First Male Under 20

Richard Darling won Third Senior Male

Paul Stephenson won First male Vet 40

Lisa Dawkins won Third Female Vet 35

Sharon Stephenson won Second Female Vet 40

Sarah Black won Third Female Vet 40

Barry Coulter won Second Male Vet 45

Michael Lamb won Third Male Vet 45

Lesley Strickland won Third Female Vet 45

Ian Cook won Third Male Vet 50

Karl Edwards won First Male Vet 55

David Wallace won Third Male Vet 55.

The next relay event is on Saturday March 15 and sees a strong squad of Burn Road men taking on the challenge of the Northern Athletics 12 Stage Road Relay Championships in Manchester.

We wish the team all the very best of luck. The first 25 teams qualify for the National 12 Stage Relays in Birmingham in April.