A Day At The Races

Normally reserved for runners of the four legged variety, last weekend saw Redcar Racecourse host a racing event of a different kind. The North East Counties Athletics Association cross country championship took place on a cold and wintry Saturday, where over 1,000 runners from 40 clubs met for the regions biggest annual championship race.

The mainly flat circuit was on the inside of the actual race course. It was basically an out and back loop either side of the service track running parallel to the horse race track.

The basic lap was approx. 4km with shorter laps being created by the insertion on a ‘U’ for the younger age groups.

As always Darlington Harriers were well represented throughout the different age groups, and especially so in the first event. This was a non-championship race for the Under 11’s in which we had four boys and five girls taking part. Here’s how they got on…..

Under 11 Girls There was some excellent running from our five Under 11 girls, with three of them finishing in the top ten! First of them to cross the line was Zara Jones, who’s had a number of top 3 finishes this season….. well, she’s done it again! After a tremendous performance, Zara finished a fantastic 2nd in 7:21. Well done, Zara, super stuff. 8th and 9th places both went to DHAC in the form of Sophie Bannister and Emma Carter. Sophie crossed the line in 7:55 and Emma, just 6 seconds behind, in 8:01. A great effort from both girls, running at this level for the first time. Excellent performances also came from Freya Talman and Savannah Tarn finishing in 17th and 20th place out of the field of 38. Freya crossed the line in 8:16 and Savannah not far behind in 8:30. Well done girls, keep up the good work.
Under 11 Boys It was a close run thing for our first two boys crossing the line, and only one second could part them. It was a sprint to the finish in the final furlong and Ashton Harrison just beat Matthew Vest by a nose! (Ok that’s the last of the horseracing analogies!) A great run from both boys finishing 9th and 10th in 7:20 and 7:21. Strong runs as well came from Sylvan Tarn and Sonny Campbell-Critchley who’ve both made regular appearances for the club in the NYSD Cross Country runs. A great effort from Sylvan Tarn finishing 25th in 8:05 and just 20 second behind Sonny came in 34th from a field of 47 in 8:25. Well done to all the boys, excellent performances from all.

Cheeky chappies!! Matthew Vest, Ashton Harrison, Sylvan Tarn

Under 13 Girls Unlike the Under 11’s, there is a also a team event for the Under 13’s and older, with the fastest 3 finishers counting towards the team result and positioning. DHAC had 3 Under 13 girls taking part today, with some excellent running from them all. First to finish was the ever impressive Gabby Hall with another strong performance to add to her tally for the season. Gabby crossed the line in a fantastic 3rd place, finishing in 13:02. Great stuff, Gabby, well done. Next up was Emily Vest, free from any nasty injury this week (as far as we know!) A great run from Emily meant she finished in 21st place in 14:19, closely followed by Mia Wetherill in 24th place. Mia crossed the line in 14:31 – two more excellent performances in this large field of 68 runners! And the team result? A very respectable 6th place out of 13 complete teams of 3. Well done girls, a great effort from you all!

Under 13 Boys There were five of our Under 13 boys competing today. First of them to finish after another strong run in the blue and white vest (I think he sleeps in it!) was Joe Reeve. Joe crossed the line in 17th place with an excellent time of 13:06. Great stuff, Joe, well done. Next was James Wilcock, running in his first official cross country event – talk about in at the deep end! A confident run from James helped him cross the line in 26th place in 13:26. Well done, James, a great run for your first time out! Only 3 places and 9 seconds behind James was Dylan Wilson, finishing 29th in 13:35. An excellent run, Dylan, well done. Two more great runs completed our five – Sam Talman finished 52nd in 14:34, and James Bennett-McNulty, still in his first season of cross country crossed the line in 68th place finishing in 16:15. Well done boys, a great effort in a competitive field of 75 runners. As the first 3 to finish, Joe, James and Dylan also manged an excellent 5th place in the team event – super stuff, well done boys!

Gabby Hall shows off her bronze medal, pictured here with her coach, DHAC veteran, Phil Teece

Under 15 Girls Yet again the Under 15 girls were well represented, with six of our Junior Harriers proudly donning the blue and white vest. Emma Hart added to her already impressive record this season with another outstanding performance. She was the first Harrier to cross the line in 6th place, finishing in 15:48. Well done, Emma!

Jess Hall and Peta Collins have well and truly established themselves as Darlington Harriers now, with some excellent runs for the club so far. Today was no exception as they secured 14th and 15th place, finishing in 16:22 and 16:35 respectively.

A great effort girls, well done! Someone else making their cross country debut at club level is Anna Reeves – and what a great start she made, finishing 18th in 16:59.

Well done Anna, hope to see you competing again soon! Only 11 seconds and 2 places behind Anna, was Harriers regular Megan Noble, finishing 20th in 17:10. Another great run to add to an excellent season. Well done, Megan. Olivia McCready made up our super six, with another excellent performance. She crossed the line in 32nd place in a field of 50 runners, finishing in 18:06 – well done, Olivia, keep up the good work! Great news in the team event – Emma, Jess and Peta’s efforts were rewarded with a fantastic 2nd place out of 10 complete teams! Congratulations girls, outstanding result!! #UTH

A flying start for the Under 15 Girls, L-R: Anna Reeves, Jess Hall, Megan Noble, Emma Hart, Olivia McCready, Peta Collins
Liam Brittle, James Roberts and Harry Wilson

Under 15 Boys Three of our Under 15 boys competed today. Only 9 seconds separated our first two Juniors home – first of them was Liam Brittle who finished in 22nd place in 14:44, closely followed by James Roberts in 23rd, who crossed the line in 14:53. A great run from both, well done boys. Our trio of talent was completed by Harry Wilson who, after a strong run, finished in 49th place in a field of 59 runners, crossing the line in 16:33. great stuff, Harry, well done. The three boys also managed 7th place out of 10 complete teams in the team event. A great result against some tough competition!

Under 17/20 Women The Under 17 and Under 20 races were run together today with ages of athletes ranging from 16 up to 19. Darlington Harriers were represented by two of our most experienced Under 17 athletes, India Pentland and Ellie Phillips, plus Jade Hutchinson, an Under 20 athlete who rattles off 5k and 10k runs in her sleep! This was a 6k race, with a field of 45 of the regions best cross country runners.

If you haven’t heard already, the race was won by our very own India Pentland! After another outstanding performance to add to her record this season, India crossed the line in 1st place (and 1st in her division) in a time of 22:12, that’s 21 seconds ahead of her nearest rival! At still only 16 years of age that is quite an achievement. Well done, India, fantastic! Not far behind India was DHAC regular Ellie Phillips, yet another 16 year old! Ellie crossed the line in an excellent 8th place overall (3rd in her division), finishing in 24:33. Well done, Ellie, another great performance in what’s been an excellent season so far. Third up was Jade who, after another strong run, crossed the line in 24th overall (10th in her division) in a time of 26:23. Great stuff, Jade, well done. You’ll also be pleased to hear that together, the girls came an outstanding 1st in the team event.

Congratulations girls, well deserved! #UTH!

India and Ellie take the lead

In addition to these fantastic results, special congratulations must go out to all the DHAC ladies from Under 13 to Seniors who were awarded the J C Kennedy Trophy for 1st place in the overall performance! Six points are awarded to the first team place down to one point for sixth in all races – the highest aggregate become the winners. Well done ladies, amazing achievement for the club! #UTH!

Ellie, Jade and India with DHAC club legend Ian Barnes
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