For the first time in many a year Alnwick Harriers participated in the first of the summer relays on Friday 19th April, the Elswick Good Friday Relays. The races are held on a fast and flat course on the Newburn Riverside Park with the Senior/Veteran races consisting of a 2.2 mile lap to be run once by each member of the team. For the Men teams of 4 are entered whilst for the Ladies there are teams of 3. The event proved to be a big hit with the members of the club who took part and hopefully we’ll enter a decent number of teams at the next relay on Wednesday 14th May, the Wallsend Harriers organised Gordon Smith Memorial Relays.
The highlight for the club was a superb 4th placed finish for the Veteran Ladies A team of Jo GASCOIGNE-OWENS, Ella BROWN and Diana WEIGHTMAN. In this race Jo ran the 2nd fastest 2.2 mile leg of the day by a Veteran and was beaten only by probable Commonwealth Games athlete Alyson DIXON of Sunderland Strollers! Ella BROWN was our 2nd quickest Veteran Lady, followed by Pauline AITCHISON. Our B team was 10th and C team was 16th of the 21 teams.
In the Senior Ladies event a lack of under 35’s meant that we had to add a few slightly older runners into the 2 teams we entered. However they still performed well and this was a good experience for the 6 Harriers who took part. Sarah GRAY, one of only 2 true Seniors, was fastest Harrier and was followed by Jacquie PROUSE and Lesley MILLER.
In the Senior Mens event we entered 2 teams of 4 runners, with Dave KIRKLAND easily running the quickest leg by a Harrier on the day. Dave helped the Senior A team to a 19th placed finish of the 49 teams, and was backed up by youngsters Adam SHAFIQ and Dan LENG, as well as by a great run from Ian SIMON. The B team was 24th overall with Richard AGAN running the quickest leg, marginally faster than John HORSLEY.
Finally the Veteran Men had 1 team out, finishing a decent enough 28th overall. First leg runner Adam SPILLER was quickest of the 4 in the team, though Stuart MORRIS also ran well and was not too far behind.
4-“A” Team Diana WEIGHTMAN 15.09, Ella BROWN 13.18 and Jo GASCOIGNE-OWENS 12.37
10-“B” Team Lisa WILLIAMS 16.04, Tracey SAMPLE 15.35 and Pauline AITCHISON 14.39
16-“C” Team Sue BOLAM 16.23, Denise DRUMMOND 16.45 and Sarah CROSS 16.28
23-“A” Team Jacquie PROUSE 14.48, Lesley MILLER 16.01 and Sarah GRAY 14.34
48-“B” Team Gay EASTOE 19.28, Kate LAWSON 22.11 and Sheona DUFFY 20.46
28-“A” Team Adam SPILLER 12.56, Micky AISTON 14.35, Richard EASTOE 15.52 and Stuart MORRIS 13.26
19-“A” Team Dave KIRKLAND 11.17, Adam SHAFIQ 12.32, Ian SIMON 12.28 and Dan LENG 12.12
24-“B” Team Steve PATTERSON 12.38, John HORSLEY 12.21, Hesus KIDD 12.57 and Richard AGAN 12.17
Well done to team captains Jo GASCOIGNE-OWENS and Bruce CROMBIE who did a great job in helping the club to enter Relays for the first time in years; a magnificent pair. A special mention also goes to Gay and Richard EASTOE who left west Cumbria at 4.30am, I repeat 4.30am, to get to the event on time! That’s dedication to the Alnwick cause. Hopefully we can carry this momentum onto the next event in May!
Photos courtesy of George ROUTLEDGE and our very own David Bailey, Hesus KIDD.