Sat 25 Jan 2020, Bedale The Northern cross country championships, organised by Northern Athletics, took place at a brand new venue, the Camp Hill Estate, near Bedale in North Yorkshire. The races were on a mix of terrain, from flatter grass to rolling undulations. On the longer lap which wasn`t used for the younger age groups, there were forest rides that were very muddy and energy sapping. Overall the courses were well designed and the day went smoothly for all.
The under 20 men had a magnificent day, showing their ability and team depth by retaining their team title and recording their third win in this category in the last four years. The junior men ran 8k and Kian Davis finished in a great 6th position in 27.00. Jack Dee-Ingham was 17th & and Matthew Fazakerley was 22nd. Byron Sowerby (38th), Tom Dickinson (44th) and Matias Grixti (52nd) were also running and part of the team. In the senior ladies race, also over 8k, there was a bronze medal for Mhari Maclennan. A leading group escaped fairly early in the race and it was nip and tuck over the early stages. Maclennan was always in contention, but the race winner, Jesica Judd of Blackburn eventually pulled away and was well clear at the end. Harriers ladies runners also were Katey Foster, Emma-Essex Crosby, Vicki Sherrington & Sue Wickham.
The first race of the day was the u17 women and Libby Huxley finished in 39th, Scarlett Sutton was 45th & Jessica Watson 53rd. Sophie Rotheram was the club’s only competitor in the under 20 race and she had a strong run, finishing in 23.23 over the 6.2k course. Lewis Townley had a good day, finishing 20th in the under 13 boys race, with Sam Smalley 41st. Ethan Chadwick & Jack Winstanley ran too. The under 15 boys team finished 4th, and just outside the team medals. Daniel Valentine had an outstanding run, finishing in 6th place and a time of 13.46 for the 4.6k course. Charlie Haigh (41st), Louie Clark (53rd) and Thomas Chadwick (72nd) were the other team counters. For the u13 girls, Poppi Watson was 62nd and in the u15 girls event, there was a team placing of 10th with Isabelle Cunningham in 38th position & Imogen Blackwell, Grace Rayner & Emily Knell were the other team counters.
The final race of the day, the senior men, was over a huge 12k and it included two of the longer laps. The mud was now ankle deep and becoming a true test of endurance. Whilst the leading group had pushed on, the field became strung out. Through illness and injury, Harriers were unable to close in a completed team of six and had five finishers, but Simon Collins was the highest placed club finisher, in 111th. The winner, in 41.41, was Calum Johnson (Gateshead) and Sale Harriers comfortably retained their team title.