YOUNGSTARS: Youngsters tough it out in North Yorkshire & South Durham Cross Country event at Summerhill Country Park

NYSD Cross Country at Summerhill Country Park on Sunday. Under 15 Boys & Girls race.
NYSD Cross Country at Summerhill Country Park on Sunday. Under 15 Boys & Girls race.

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The event was organised and hosted by Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers, who worked alongside Summerhill and English Martyrs School, to put on a great day of racing.

Rain was forecast, but this stayed away and the 304 runners and spectators enjoyed a bright afternoon.

All races started on English Martyrs School field and then headed into Summerhill Park via the top entrance.

There is about 300 metres of trail before the juniors come to a sharp decline with a jump over a beck at the bottom.

Most had to put at least one foot in the beck and others had water reach their calves

Once they climbed out of the beck, they faced substantial hills and many areas of the park were extremely muddy under foot, which made it very difficult to stay upright.

However, youngsters from all over the region flocked to what is deemed the best course of the league to take on the challenging races.

The Under-11s’ 1.7K race was first and 28 runners aged from eight to 11 ran across the school field and around a good mile loop of the park.

They faced a sharp decline to the beck jump followed by a quick flat section of approximately 500 metres before climbing a sharp hill and racing over a bumpy section of trail to the finish line.

The Under-11 Boys’ race was won by Jack Farrell, from New Marske Harriers, in 4:46.

The Under-11 Girls’ race was won by Shannon Robinson, from Darlington Harriers, in 4:49.

Talented Hartlepool runner Emma McNeill, who races for Middlesbrough Mandale AC, missed out on the top spot by only two seconds, having finished first at the last event at Acklam Grange.

The Under-13 Boys’ 2.8K was next. This took runners out of the school field and round a full lap of the country park. Here they faced three hills, with one stretching over 150 metres and it was very muddy.

This was a difficult run, whatever your age, and the junior athletes showed great determination around the course.

Hartlepool lad Dylan Appleby, who races for Middlesbrough Mandale, came 12th in 14:59 and Tom Halton, from New Marske Harriers finished 13th in 15:02.

The Under-13 Girls’ race was won by Issy Nicholls, of Scarborough AC, in 13:47.

Emily Francis, of Richmond & Zetland Harriers, came fifth in 15:31.

The under-15s had to run a lap of the school field before a full loop of the Summerhill course, which increased the length to 3.2K (two miles). Will Smith, from Richmond & Zetland, came in second in 13:07. Harry Butterworth, from Scarborough AC, was fourth in 14:14 and Sam Kettlewell, also from Richmond & Zetland, was seventh in 14:47.

The final junior race was the Under-17 4.6K race. Runners had to race a lap of the field before taking on a medium lap and a large lap of Summerhill.

This meant they faced the sharp decline and the beck jump twice and had five really tough hills to climb.

Hartlepool Burn Road Harrier Bradley O’Donoghue had an excellent run, racing to the finish line strongly in sixth place in 19:35.

Maddy Mastrolonardo, from Loftus & Whitby AC, took second place in the Girls’ U17 race in 18:35 and Laura Kirkham, from Richmond & Zetland, was fifth in 19:44.

The final race in the NYSD League takes place at Richmond Old Race Course on Sunday, February 19, and will be hosted by Richmond & Zetland Harriers.