New Balance English Schools Cross Country Championships 2019 – Temple Newsam Park, Leeds (Report by Jeff Southern)
Six Birtley AC athletes all boarded the Durham Team coach on Saturday for a relatively early morning trip to Leeds to take part in the English Schools Cross Championships. Those six Birtley athletes competed in all championship age groups with the exception of Intermediate Boys, a fantastic achievement for the club.
Temple Newsam Park in Leeds was holding the Championships for the second year in succession so the course was familiar to some making a return.
The weather, as forecast, was dreadful with incessant rain and a gusty wind but this would not dent the spirit of the athletes who had all worked so hard for their selection. They were all determined to enjoy their day.
The course was hilly and run, generally, on well cut grass fields forming the grounds of Temple Newsam House. The course, however, was soon to cut up and by the last race was very heavy underfoot with extremely tricky downhill sections where even long spikes did not guarantee a ‘slip free’ descent.
The day began with Tess Graham in the Intermediate Girls Championship run over a distance of 3710m. Tess had a really solid run finishing in 117th position out of 341 competitors and was Durham’s fifth girl home. Tess still has another year in this age category.
Next up was Chris Perkins in the Junior Boys Championship competing over a distance of 4100m. Chris had a great start and was soon occupying what is becoming a familiar position at the front of the race along with his local rival Josh Blevins along with another athlete known to Chris, Lewis Sullivan from Suffolk. It was a three-horse race until the beginning of the second longer lap, at which point Lewis pulled into an unassailable lead, with Josh clear in second. Chris was occupying a comfortable third place but it was clear that there were a number of runners who appear to have left something in the tank for a final push to the line. On a difficult uphill finish, Chris relinquished three places but finished in an excellent 6th place to claim his first England vest - a fantastic achievement.
The Junior Girls were up next with both Katie Francis and Abigail Thwaites competing over the 3000m course. Katie did not get the best of starts, possibly due to her diminutive stature but she quickly started moving through the field, eventually finishing in 19th place and first counter for Durham - a fantastic run. Abigail, on a course that was perhaps not to her strengths, dug deep to finish in 307th position . Both girls have had brilliant cross-country seasons.
At 2.35, it was the turn of the Senior Girls with Birtley’s sole representative, Eve Southern, competing in her first English Schools Final. Its great to see that after so many near misses, Eve finally got her chance and she wasn’t going to let anything spoil her day. Due to the pen system at the start, Eve was not able to get off to her usual positive start but the 4100m course would provide plenty opportunity for her to work steadily through the field. This she did and finished in a creditable 237th position.
In the final race of the day Ollie Barret was competing in the Senior Boys Championship having only taken up running seriously last Autumn. The course was extremely heavy going at this stage and Ollie was not the only boy having difficulty with their footing. In the longest race of the day, run over 6700m, Ollie did well to stay upright and finished in 288th place and sixth counter for Durham.
For all those who competed, the day was a fantastic experience with every single Birtley athlete doing themselves, their County and Club extremely proud. A big thank you to all of the parents who made the journey to support and also to Gary and Shannel for their support on the day but also throughout the season.
Rebecca is the North East Pentathlon Champion 2019
Cross-country wasn't the only event this weekend - the NECAA Indoor Pentathlon Championships were also taking place (in somewhat warmer, drier conditions!). Young athlete Amy Drummond was competing in her very first pentathlon, and she PB'ed in almost every event - well done Amy!
Rebecca Pottinger excelled, becoming North East Champion whilst up against a variety of talented athletes, ably demonstrating that it's always possible to come back to track and field, even after a few years out! Huge well done to Rebecca - full results can be seen on this link
Despite a cold wintry day which turned even colder as the age groups progressed (with the u15/17s running in an awful mixture of rain and sleet), the junior relays had a record attendance, with 382 athletes turning out on the day. There were some terrific performances, with true grit and determination being shown by the youngsters in very trying conditions.
The girls u11 was a particularly hard fought battle, with only 3 seconds separating the winners Elswick from second place North Shields Poly, with NSP's Katy Otterson winning fastest leg prize.
The u11 boys team race was won by North Shields poly, with Zac Brannon also finishing fastest leg for the same club.
The girls u13 team race was also won by Elswick, completing a successful day of racing for them, while Hannah Bowyer from Blackhill did the honours for fastest leg.
The boys u13 team race gave Morpeth their first result of the day, whilst Bertie Marr made it the double by running the fastest leg.
Morpeth again got the honours in the boys u15/u17 team race, although Birtley pipped them to fastest leg with a speedy performance by Chris Perkins.
Finally, the home u15/17 girls team claimed a resounding victory, finishing well over a minute clear of their rivals, with Abigail Thwaites also claiming fastest leg for Birtley.
Huge congratulations to all who ran, we hope you enjoyed the event and hope to see a lot of you back next year! (Results link below pic)
The following results are provisional - please email with any queries ASAP. (Latest update 09:40 on 12/3)
Photos of the day can be seen on our FB page - here are the links for those of you who have FB.
Photos by Darren Fairclough:- U11 Race 1 U13 Race 2 U15/17 Race 3
Pictures by Stuart Whitman are available on this link
Photos by John Geddes on this link (Birtley AC runners only)
Thanks to all of the photographers who kindly stood there in the awful weather!
The Birtley AC AGM will be held at 7pm on Monday 8th April 2019 at the Birtley Hub. Decisions about future membership fees, setting of nightly subs, and voting in of committee members will all take place, so it's vital that you come along and have your say - all members are eligible to vote on these important issues.
If there are any issues that you would like to see on the agenda, please email by April 1st for consideration by the committee. There will be a list of key committee posts available for nominations prior to the AGM, please consider volunteering for some of these roles as the club cannot function without our members's support.
This link will take you to the nominations list which will allow you to volunteer yourself or nominate (or second) others - please take the time to have a look at the list and help your club. To enter a name, simply type it in the appropriate column - the document will automatically save. Thank you for your help!
Two Team Birtley athletes raced today at Loughborough representing the North East in the Inter Counties Championships. Katie Francis won team Gold and Adrian Bailes placed well in the team. Fantastic racing both of you, very well done!!
Young athletes - this is your last chance to run cross-country this season, with a home ground advantage!
Parents and older athletes - please step up and help out with set-up, marshalling, and other duties - you'll still be able to support your child!
Other clubs - if you haven't signed up your young athletes for this event yet, now's your chance! Full details and an online entry form here.
Please remember to keep an eye on the Fixtures page for the latest race info - currently there's news on there about the Blaydon Race and Darlington 10k, as well as some other events. The main fixtures heading on the front page is mainly for races that are entered by the club on your behalf (North Easterns, Northerns, relays etc.) - all other races will appear on the Fixtures page so make sure you don't miss out.
Massive shout-out for Molly Elliott a very well deserved Bronze Medal and another PB! Very close to Silver with her biggest jump ever, making it a fantastic result in the English Championships!!
While all eyes have been on the National XC at Leeds, there's another National Championship taking place down the road at Sheffield; the England Athletics Age Group Indoor Championships is taking place this weekend, and Molly Elliott is entered in the pole vault tomorrow (24th Feb) at 10.30am. The event will be streamed live on runjumpthrow.com, so why not sit down with a cuppa and cheer her on from the comfort of home?
Leeds in February - not a time and place you'd associate with sun cream...but it certainly looks as if our athletes needed it if the photos are anything to go by! Glorious weather meant for great spectating for those who travelled to support, though possibly the athletes were a bit disappointed at the lack of mud.
Some outstanding performances across the age groups, with top 20 finishes for both U15 Katie Francis, and Junior Women Kate Waugh, whilst Hannah Short (Junior Women) and Adrian Bailes (Senior men) both just missed out on a top 100 place. In an incredibly competitive field, our athletes did both themselves and the club proud - full results can be seen here and photos courtesy of Rebecca Pottinger can be seen via FB here (more photos to follow).
We need lots of our younger members to tell their coach they'd like to take part in these upcoming relays (details here) - we can't let other clubs outdo us on our own home turf! Let's try and get as many teams out there as we can, we'd like to see a sea of blue and yellow vests out there on the Sunday!
Parents (and other family members!), since the youngsters volunteered to marshal the Cathedral relays last month, it seems only fair that you return the favour now for them - you'll still be able to give them lots of encouragement from your vantage point on the course, and we need plenty of people out there, as it's a twisty route which needs good marshalling to keep people from taking the wrong turn! We hope to have the local cadets marshalling the car parking, so you will definitely be on the field if you step up and volunteer for marshal duties. Please comment on this post (website or FB) if you're willing to help out.
We also need helpers to assist Kaley and Haley with their catering endeavours, so if you fancy a warm dry stint, this could be for you! We also welcome any donations of food items on the day - cakes, biscuits, something savoury - all welcome!
Thank you :)
After many inquires and interest over the past few months, there will be two Pole Vault camps in March at Gateshead Academy for Sport indoor track.
Great way to learn pole vault to see if you have a hidden talent for it or if you just want to help your club get a few extra points in the summer leagues. All ages welcome from above 11.
Weekend 1 -
24th - 25th march - beginners (never pole vaulted before)
Weekend 2 -
30th-31st March - experienced (vaulted at least once before)
Beginners who attend the first weekend who wish to attend the second are more then welcome.
Massive well done to Molly Elliott winning two North East titles at this weekend's indoor championships. Molly smashed the existing CBP in the Pole Vault by 10cm placing her 2nd in the UK rankings and also won the long jump clearing 5.36. Anyone wishing to emulate Molly's success should think about attending Gateshead Academy's Pole Vault camp next month.
Congratulations also to Rebecca Pottinger winning the Senior Ladies High Jump.
Well done ladies, flying the flag for Birtley. Great write up by Bill on the NECAA website.
Last weekend the DAB&G clubs travelled to Essex to compete in the National Associations cross country championships. Qualifiers for the county team had been selected from the county champs, held in Birtley in December. The Team had representatives from Birtley, Derwentside, Sunderland, Houghton and Phoenix Fliers.
With a Harrier League on the same day, a lot of older athletes understandably decided on that event. This did not undermine the enthusiasm of our u/11 and u/13 athletes to travel and compete. A bus load of 50 left Birtley on Friday evening travelling down to our hotel in Peterboro for an overnight stay. After a not too early breakfast we had a couple of hours travel down to Upminster in Essex. The team arrived in good spirits ready to battle against the strong winds and the opposition.
As usual the Durham squad performed well in all the races with all Birtley athletes bringing home medals as follows:
1st Maggie Graham and team gold
2nd Daisy Graham and team gold
3rd Amy Dodds and team gold
Terri Bauma team silver.
3rd Matthew Drummond and team gold
Lewis Watson team silver
1st George Beevers and team gold
2nd Rowan Mason
Well done to all Birtley athletes and the rest of the Durham team some great performances and excellent behaviour throughout. I hope you all enjoyed the experience and look forward to seeing you at Ramside Hall later in the year.
Adrian Bailes and Chloe Price flew around the course at the Armagh International 5k/3k yesterday, Feb 14th, with Adrian smashing his PB by an amazing 22 seconds to finish in a time of 14:47 (Strava link can be seen on our social page). Well done to both, what a great way to spend Valentine's day - who says romance is dead! Full results can be seen here.
Luckily for you , there are two easy ways to find out your EA number. You can log on to your Webcollect account (which will be good practice for when our memberships renew at the start of May!) where it will be showing on your membership form, or you can go to England Athletics Licence Checker Hopefully this means a few less panicked messages to your club secretary :)