Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers hosted their annual Stuart Pailor Memorial Old Monks Race last weekend, with a field of 265 runners participating in the much-loved race.
The race is held in memory of Stuart, a member of the club for almost five decades and a prolific long and ultra-distance runner, as well as holding positions of Club Secretary, Vice President and President President at different times.
The 5.4 mile race started on the Front Street at Hart village and took runners down Butts Lane and then along a section of trail for around a kilometre until they reached the dene.
Here runners had a very challenging section of mud and climbing. Once they had climbed out of the dene there was a stretch along the railway line to momentarily get their breath back until descending into the dene near Monk Heselden and another climb out.
The two mile of road stretching back to the finish line would be easy going in itself if runners had not had two challenging sections of hills in their legs.
Instead, the final two miles were extremely punishing as runners pushed to finish.
The race was won by Dean Newton of New Marske Harriers in 31:51. Stuart Pailor’s wife, Lesley, kindly attended to support the race and presented the Stuart Pailor Memorial Race Trophy to Dean at the prize ceremony back at the village hall.
Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers were out in force. Over 30 club members marshalled and volunteered in various roles to ensure a safe and enjoyable morning and a further 52 raced.
Six of Hartlepool’s top men stormed the course together, with Paul Wilson having to temporarily step out of the race midway due to a bad fall. He picked up pace again to finish later in the pack.
The remaining five really pushed one another on around the challenging route, with Richard Darling always maintaining a good few metres gap ahead of the rest and finishing strongly for second place and first male vet40 in 33:56. Simon Bennett was only five seconds behind for third place in 34:01.
Gary Grounds powered across the line with another five second gap separating him from Simon (34:06) to claim fourth place and first male vet45, six seconds later Ian Wilson finished in fifth (34:12) and then Vaughan Godber in sixth (34:26).
A sterling performance from the lads which secured the top four the team prize which was kindly sponsored by Hartlepool-based Waltons Clark Whitehill Accountants and Business Advisers.
A short pause and then Chris Williams raced round the final bend to finish in 36:02 (12th), followed by Anthony Oliver in 37:27 (18 th) and SuperVet Karl Edwards in 38:05 (21st) who was the fastest male vet60 by a good distance.
HBRH Coach Richard Hambly had a cracking race as part of an 18-mile training run for the forthcoming London Marathon in April, he finished in 38:33 (23rd), with Graham
Jones tucked in a second behind in 38:34 and Leigh Owbridge next in 38:36.
Ben Grounds had a great run, finishing 28 th in 39:02, with Steven Liddell racing brilliantly to finish in 40:07 and new member Darren Merrilles finishing well in 40:27 in his first race for the club. Andy Scaife was just 10 seconds behind Darren over the line.
The women’s race has not been won by a Burn Road Harrier for a good number of years and so it was a joy to see Cheryl Laycock claim first female in 40:49, with almost 90 seconds between her and her nearest rival. She was duly rewarded with prize vouchers for the top spot and for first female vet40.
James Bate had a great run, finishing in 41:40 ahead of Bill Hornby in 42:15.
Slightly battered and bruised, Paul Wilson was the next Harrier to cross the line in 42:24. Great to see Paul stick with it and support other runners on his run back to the finish.
Hartlepool’s next finisher was Gemma Harcombe-Moore in 43:12 with Bradley O’Donoghue next in 44:59. Sharon Stephenson was next in 45:11, followed by Phillip Thompson in 45:52, David Edwards in 47:00 and Graeme Surtees in 47:03.
Laura Jones was the fourth female Harrier across the line in 47:08 and the Hartlepool team comprising Cheryl, Gemma, Sharon and Laura equalled the men’s performance and claimed the sponsored prizes for the first female team of four to cross the finish line.
Nigel Shaw continues to run back to full fitness, finishing the race in 47:16, with Lesley Strickland in 47:50 then Greg Swinbourne in 48:03. Peter Johnson was next in 48:47 and Marie Taylor in 49:05.
Joanne Scott raced the cross the finish line in 49:07, with David Clouston wearing race number 123 next in 50:06 and receiving a bottle of champagne to celebrate Burn Road Harriers’ 123 rd Year.
Victoria Fawcett was next in 50:21, Shaun Sant in 51:23 and Shelley Woodward in 51:48. Clair
Minton had a good run to finish in 51:55, followed by Cary Surtees in 52:06 and Angela and husband Simon Lawlor in 52:09 and 52:10. New member Kim Watson had a great run in 53:51 with Julie McGrath next in 54:24.
Anita Gaffney also recently joined the club and is impressing in training, she completed the 5.4 mile tough run in 55:14 with Christopher McGrath a second later in 55:15.
Vanessa Cox was next in 55:59, with Ian Donnelly, fully recovered from his first race for the Harriers back in December at Summerhill, next in a great time of 56:22. Kelly Turnbull had a good run in 56:36, with Lucy Stones next in 57:38 enjoying the her first race back following the birth of her son.
Bryan O’Donoghue was next in 58:58. Sam Dixon and Tracy Peek ran the course together, with Sam supporting Tracy in her first race with the club, they crossed the finish line in 59:40.
Life member of the Harriers, Pauline Ranson, raced well to finish in 63:14.
The race was a resounding success and recorded as ‘superbly organised’ by the UK Athletic
The race times ranged from 31 minutes to 97 minutes and all athletes were rewarded with a running scarf, a hot drink and food.
The post-race event also raised £200 for Macmillan Nurses.
The entries to the Harriers next event the Marina Five Mile Road Race on Sunday, April 15, have just opened and people are encouraged to sign up soon as this has been a sell-out event for the past few years.
Entries are available via their website where people can also find information on their
beginners running sessions and training runs www.hartlepoolburnroad.co.uk