North East Cross Country Championships, 8th Dec 2012 Summerhill Country Park, Hartlepool
This Saturday Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers host the 107th North East Cross Country Championships at Summerhill Country Park, Hartlepool and with running in the North East going through a somewhat purple patch, it looks as though its going to be a very exciting and quality packed championship!
Information for runners: Race headquarters are at Summerhill Visitor Centre, Summerhill Lane, Hartlepool, TS25 4LL.and ample parking is available at the centre as well as English Martyrs School and West Hartlepool Rugby Club, Catcote Road (opposite English Martyrs School).
Travel information: From A19 southbound, take the A179 to Hartlepool. From the A19 northbound, take the A689 into Hartlepool. In both cases, follow the brown tourist signs to Summerhill once you are off the A19. More information can be found at www.sunnysummerhill.co.uk.
The boys Under 13 Championship kicks the Championship off at 11am with the Under 17 men closing proceedings at 2.30pm. The full timetable is as follows:
As in recent years, presentations will be made shortly after each race and organisers are keen for a big attendance when the winners are rewarded. North Eastern Cross Country Secretary Donna Horne explained "This is the biggest event on the North East Cross Country calendar, Championship titles are at stake and we encourage as many people as possible to attend the presentations which will be taking place close to the finishing area. We want everyone to make as much noise as possible and really celebrate the performances"
The races are also used as selection for the 2013 Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Birmigham next March. The first 3 in each race will automatically be selected to represent the North East to race against the best the country has to offer. As Donna explained "It's a huge honour to represent the North East, following in the footsteps of the likes of Brendan Foster, Steve Cram, Ian Hudspith, Jill Hunter and more recently Laura Weightman, Nick McCormick and Ross Murray who have all worn the County colours with pride at the Inter Counties Championships. We feel that with County places up for grabs, it always adds to the excitement of the races"
The course itself is very tough and will suit the more seasoned cross country runners. The inclement weather we have been having recently will only add to the toughness and a lot of mud is expected.
So who are the favourites for the titles? Last year at East Cramlington saw New Marske's Ricky Stevenson hold off the challenge of the Martin brothers, Pat and Jack with Gateshead taking the team title in the Senior Men's race. This year , although at the time of writing the full official program has yet to be produced, the race looks to be one of the most exciting in recent years with the North East arguably having the most talented array of cross country runners in the country. Morpeth's Jonny Taylor, after magnificently winning the European Cross Country Trials last week, will be absent as he competes at the Euros which are taking place in Budapest the following day (you would have though they would have known!) but names that are being mentioned include Peter Newton, Nick Swinburn, Dan Garbutt, Carl Smith, Lewis Timmins, Ryan Stephenson, Pat Martin, Andy Wiles and Phil Hurst to name but a few.
The Senior Ladies Championship has been won by Rosie Smith twice in the last 3 years and few would have bet against her retaining her title this year after her magnificent 3rd place at the Euro Trials and subsequent selection for the race at Budapest. However with the Euro Championships clashing with the County Championship weekend the race is wide open. Morpeth's Ashley Dixon had a great run for the fastest time at the Blaydon Harrier League but with her strengths lying over the shorter distances it could pave the way for one of many of a group that includes the likes of Alex Snook, Lorna Young, Armed Forces Cross Country Champion Danielle Hodgkinson, Alison Dargie and Sarah Wilkinson. It certainly looks as though there is an exciting day in prospect.
Want to get involved?
North East Runner is also keen to cover the young athletes events so we are calling out to all wannabe reporters. If you have a good knowledge of young athletes in the area, are a keen writer and think you could report from the Championships then we would love to hear from you. Contact Us to get in touch.
Roll of honour
The reigning champions from 2011 are as follows:
As usual North East Runner will be there with our cameras and notebooks and will be reporting back as quickly as possible.
We wish everyone the best of luck in what is always a great day.
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