Harriers tread Northumberland coast in search of valuable points for team ahead of last hurrah

SPITTAL BEACH was the venue for the sixth and penultimate round of the Border Winter Cross-country series on Sunday.

Cold but favourable conditions met the 220-plus athletes, who had a tough start to their race over the redesigned route. Soft sand and, for the seniors, a new climb up the clifftop path, made it all the more challenging.

After six rounds there are some excellent individual placings as the series heads towards its last leg at Kelso this month and the performances at Berwick will not have done Gala runners any harm at all.

A total of 16 young Harriers featured amongst the 76 junior competitors with some excellent performances. All the results are posted on the Norham Running Club’s website and it is important to recognise that everyone’s contribution is valued and counts towards the final team placings.

Some notable individual successes came from Nathan Fox (third overall in 15 minutes and 7 seconds) Thomas Otton (fourth and first in his age category, 15.18), Andrew Hogg (first in cat, 16.25) and Jamie Logan (second in cat, 16.39), Becki Couch (second in cat, 17.11), Jo Arres (first in cat, 18.41), Emily Jones (second in cat, 18.45) and Cara Hogg (third in cat, 18.54).

After six gruelling rounds, Cara Hogg, Jo Arres, Becki Couch, Jamie Logan, Andrew Hogg and Thomas Otton are all sitting in medal positions, with the final result depending on the Kelso event.

Twenty Gala seniors turned out amongst the 147 and, like the juniors, will take medal hopes into the final round. Some individual performances bode well for the final outcome. Third home overall with sand between his toes was Fergus Johnston in 26.12 and first in his age category. Other worthies include: Mark Bryson (third in cat, 27.47); Bob Marshall (30.35) Martin Clarke (31.29) and Dave Nightingale (31.33); Karen Maxwell (second in cat, 37.49); Eileen Maxwell (third in cat, 39.16).

Mark Bryson, Dave Nightingale, Martin Clarke and Bob Marshall and Isla King, Karen Maxwell, Fiona Dalgleish, Fiona Shepherd, Andrea Pogson and Shelagh King are all lying well up in their categories.

Last Saturday’s major international event won by team GB was the last event of this kind in the popular and well-supported venue that is the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. But the old indoor track had hosted the National Open for Under-14 upwards on January 21 and two young Harriers competed well for their club in this massive turnout of aspiring youngsters from all over the country.

Bethany Wardhaugh came third in her section of the mixed 200m in 29.84 seconds, while Paul Henney took some 15 seconds off his personal best over 1,500m, also coming third in 4 minutes, 48.37seconds.