The competitions reward the clubs that have strength in depth as the points awarded in all the age group races are tallied up. It truly is a team event and the performance of an U13 is just as important as that of a senior or veteran.
Conditions were firm underfoot but a strong wind would make things tough for all runners and clever tactics were bound to play a part.
At the end of the first of the 3 laps, Hurst tracked leader Kevin Calvert of Sunderland with Gateshead's 18 year old Lewis Hogg in close attendance. It was great to see two of the region's emerging stars (Hurst is still only 21- just!) at the head of affairs in such a prestigious race and it was Hogg that took the lead from Calvert on the second lap but as hard as he tried, he could still not shake off the attentions of Hurst. A large pack was gathering behind the duo as the entered the final lap the race was still anyone's.
As Hurst and Hogg hit the hill at the back of the course, Hurst started to stretch out and the move was decisive as he comfortably built up a winning lead and with half a mile to go was in complete control. The effort that Hogg had made was starting to take it's toll as the chasing group started to close and it was Tyne Bridge's Tony Carter that had put himself in a good position, getting to within striking distance of second place with less than a mile to go.
As the leaders came round the playing fields towards the finish, Hurst still looked very fresh and came home to a popular victory. Carter went past Hogg to secure second place while the first veteran runner past the post was North Shields Poly's Guy Bracken in 11th place.
For individual male results click here.
North East Runner profiled Phil Hurst back at the start of May. To read his interview and find out more about him click here.
The race for second place was an exciting one though as last year's winner Sarah Wilkinson of Morpeth held a slight lead over Heaton's Lorna Young at halfway. Young was patient though and kept chipping away at the gap before going past in the last 1000m for second place.
It was Morpeth who won the overall Davison Shield, gaining 15 points from 4 categories. It was great to see one of the so called smaller clubs also scoring in 4 races as Gosforth finished 3 points behind in second. For full results of the Davison Shield click here.
Overall, it was windy, it was cold but the North East Cross Country races always provide a great atmosphere and today was no different.It was a great start to what will no doubt be a long tough season.
Well done to all that took part and to South Shields Harriers for hosting such a well organised event. See below for some videos of the day as well as some pictures (with many more HD pics to follow!).
Roll on Cramlington and the first of the Harrier Leagues proper.