Mud Glorious Mud

Lets face it, the ground conditions at last week’s Inter-Counties National XC were nothing more than horrendous! With the aftermath of the previous week’s snow, and a heavy rainfall the night before, most of the course resembled something more suited to pigs and hippos than athletes! Mud, and lots of it, was definitely the order of the day!

But still they came, in their hundreds, to slip, slide and splash their way against the best cross country runners in the UK, proudly wearing the vest of their county/region. We’re pleased to say that five of our Junior Harriers were selected to represent the North East – Gabby Hall, Daniel Boyer, India Pentland, Ellie Phillips and Jade Hutchinson. Being selected to run at National level is an accolade in itself, and for that they should all be congratulated. Here’s how they got on at the mud fest….

A mud splattered Gabby gives it her al

Under 13 Girls Gabby Hall must be one of the hardest working young athletes we know. She’s had an amazing season under the expert guidance of her coach, DHAC Senior, Phil Teece, and as we approach the end of the cross country season it’s clear to see that all that hard work is paying off. Having already taken part in the Saucony English National Championships a few weeks ago, this was her second competition at National level; quite an achievement considering she’s still in her first year at this age group. Once again, Gabby produced a fantastic performance and was the 4th North East girl to finish. Crossing the line in 16:11 in an excellent 115th overall out of a field of 302 athletes. Great stuff, Gabby, well done!

Under 15 Boys Since he started competing for Darlington Harriers last year, Daniel Boyer has quickly proved himself to be one of the strongest athletes of his age group. He has produced some excellent results for the club and in the school competitions, and has shown us he’s a bit of an all rounder – he’ll soon be competing at the English Schools XC followed the very next day by the British Schools Biathlon Championships! This was Dan’s first competition at National level and his Dad tells us that, “he thoroughly enjoyed the experience including staying over the night before with the team.” After a great effort in tricky conditions, Dan finished in an excellent 70th place out of the 303 taking part, crossing the line in 19:38. Top running, Dan, well done! The North East came a fantastic 2nd in the U15 boys team result – unfortunately for Dan it was only the top 4 regional finishers

and post race, after a wipe down (sort of!)

that counted and Dan was 5th of the NE runners. Agonisingly the 4th spot North East runner was only 5 seconds ahead of him (64th place) so he just missed out on a medal! Never mind, Dan, there’s always next year.

Dan with matching spikes, socks and legs

Under 17 Women Those that have followed India Pentland and Ellie Phillips through their junior years at Darlington Harriers, will be familiar with their impressive history. A remarkable string of club, county, regional and national appearances dating back to their U11 and U13 years is certainly something to be proud of.

As you’re probably aware, when India took part in the National XC Championships recently, lady luck certainly wasn’t on her side; she suffered two falls during the race whilst up with the leading pack. We’re sure that will have been playing on her mind here today with the conditions being as bad as they were. She needn’t have worried – not only did she manage to stay on two feet, she ran the race of her life, crossing the line in 22:40 to finish in 3rd place, and win her first national medal!! At this level, an outstanding performance! Huge congratulations, India, well deserved.

Inspirational India! Crosses the finish line in 3rd place

Ellie continued her season of top performances with another one here today. She finished in 122nd place out of the 278 taking part, in a time of 26:36. An excellent result considering these are the best XC runners from the whole of the UK. A great effort, Ellie, well done!

Extraordinary Ellie! Another top performance
Before the mud fest begins 3rd place for India A hose down after for Ellie

Under 20 Women Jade Hutchinson was back in action again for her second National race in two weeks in the Under 20 Women’ s race. She also ran at this same event at Loughborough last year where she finished in 70th place. Trying to improve on that was going to be tough in these difficult conditions, but she put up a great fight throughout this 6k race. Jade crossed the line in 86th place out of the 170 starters, in an excellent time of 30:59. A fantastic effort, Jade, well done!
Congratulations to our young harriers who ran here today! Outstanding performances from you all at this high level of competition, including India’s National medal which really was the icing on the cake! Tremendous

Another great run from Jade!

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