THE Great North Run has always attracted some of the most watchable and colourful TV coverage – and amongst the thousands of athletes hoping to get caught on camera were four youngsters and three seniors from Gala Harriers who made the journey down to Tyneside for the spectacular weekend of running.
Newcastle’s quayside was the location for Saturday’s junior run and the impressive backdrop of the bridges and the historic harbour buildings brought out the very best in the youngsters as they did their loop of the riverside route.
An excellent run from Andrew Hogg in 16 minutes and 22 seconds put him in a superb third place in his 9-10 year old boys’ category, with sister Cara coming in an equally impressive seventh in the same girls’ age group in 18.13.
Marshall Smith followed Andrew in seventh place with a spirited run in 16.44, with Nathan Cox in the 13-14 boys’ category putting in a strong effort to come in 14th in 14.48.
The next day, the massed throngs of senior runners and wheelchair athletes started the 13.1 miles in perfect conditions which deteriorated as the race progressed into a cooling drizzle – but the weather did not hinder Dave Nightingale (one hour 31 minutes and four seconds), Christopher Tiemessen (1.38.31) and Gina Allen (1.50.27) who all posted good times.
Earlier in the week two other Harriers had been pulling on another kind of vest, that of the Lothian and Borders Police team, as they raced for honours in the Police National Road Race in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
Over the 10-mile distance, Dianne Lauder was second woman home and first woman veteran in a fine time of 1.02.37. Gillian Duncan also ran a great race for the L & B team in 1.11.50, coming in 18th amongst a large field and, as second counter for her team after Dianne, ensuring that the L & B team came home in the bronze medal position.
Next weekend, young Harrier Rowan Marr runs for his country in the Junior Home Hill Running International in Wales.
Gala Harriers wish him and Louise Mercer (Teviotdale Harriers) all the very best for this prestigious selection.