As hopefully most of you are aware, our club membership is normally due for renewal on 1st April. However, as nothing is normal about the situation at present, we are suspending renewals until we have a firm date for a recommencement of club activities. Once everything has settled down, we will decide on a course of action for renewals - in the meantime, stay indoors as much as possible, stay healthy by following your coach's solo training plans if you can (see our coaching links on the home page), and stay safe!
As the Good Friday Relays have been cancelled (along with just about everything else!) we have obviously refunded the athletes who paid for their entries - you should be receiving the repayment in a week or so. Many thanks for your interest in the event, fingers crossed we have events to enter again in a few months time.
IMPORTANT NOTICE re training - please read! Following the statement issued by EA this morning (shown below), training at club is suspended until at least the end of April, or until further notice. Regular updates will be published both here and on the
website. We apologise for this, but we're sure you all understand the importance of following this advice and keeping both yourselves and your families safe at this difficult time.
"The UK government has advised that everyone in the UK should now avoid “non-essential” travel and contact with others to fight coronavirus. Whilst it has not issued any ban on public gatherings of any size either indoors or outdoors at this stage, the advice is to avoid non-essential contact with others, including going to sporting events, pubs, clubs, theatres and social venues.
As a result, England Athletics advises that all face-to-face activity such as club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to-face meetings, athlete camps, running groups and social events should be suspended until at least the end of May.
The decision has been taken in the interests of athletes, runners, officials, coaches, volunteers, supporters and the wider athletics and running communities. This decision is also in alignment with actions taken by the home country athletics federations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and is similar to action taken by other sports.
Where possible, athletes and runners at all levels are encouraged to maintain their own personal fitness and keep active during this time, while following government guidelines about safe distance and safe exercise environments.
England Athletics will continue to review and monitor government advice and will provide detailed updates on the impact to our sport in the coming weeks. We appreciate that the current situation will undoubtedly place our member clubs in a difficult situation and we are working with UKA and the other Home Country Athletics Federations on the best way to help alleviate the situation and will update you as plans evolve."
The Birtley AC AGM will be held at 7pm on Monday 20th April 2020 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 14th for consideration by the committee. There is 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 and 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!
Due to the current Covid-19 crisis, we have taken the decision to postpone our presentation night until later in the year. Please continue to bring your trophies to club, and any non-perishable items may still be donated in the interim, thank you for your understanding during this difficult period.
Our presentation night this year will be held at Chester le Street Cricket Club (this is NOT the Emirates!). The admission price includes a delicious buffet and there will be music and games - remember to bring some change with you for the bottle games! Proceedings begin at 7pm, so make sure you're there in time to grab a seat and a drink before we start the evening. There will also be a raffle and chocolate tombola - all donations gratefully accepted at the club in the next couple of weeks prior to the event.
We hope to make this a fun evening, so no lengthy speeches to sit through, and any proceeds will be going straight back into the club, to help develop our athletes even further. Tickets can be bought via our website or at club - we'll need your orders in by April 1st to allow time to order the buffet, so please don't leave it too late to buy your tickets - this is the online link
We also need a few volunteers to help set up on the day (decorations, sorting out trophies, etc.) - I realise we have asked a lot of you all lately, but hopefully some of you still have some reserves of volunteering left and will offer to help out! If you are willing, please either comment on the FB post or email/text me.
As you know, it's Lambton XC this weekend and for the first time this season, Birtley are helping to organise the event. We need to marshal six points on the course, plus help to set up and take down the course, and we currently have very few volunteers, having lost some to the schools event that is also taking place this weekend. If we don't have sufficient people coming forward to help, this event may be in jeopardy - please PLEASE offer to help if you can. You don't need to be an athlete or a member of the club - we are very happy to have parents/brothers/sisters/next door neighbours, all will be welcome!
You don't need to miss out on your own race to marshal, we just need enough volunteers to be able to swap out when the time comes around for your own race to take place. Please remember that every other harrier league you've attended this year has been organised by other clubs, and that without willing volunteers none of them would have happened - this is the only time we've asked you to help out with a harrier league event, please help us show the region that we may be a small club but we can step up when needed!
Course set-up volunteers need to be at the course by 8.15-8.30. Marshals will probably need to get there around 10.15 for briefing (now confirmed time). The marshalling points are shown below, and full details of how to get to the course on the day are on the NEHL blog here.
Saturday saw the Intercounties XC Champs take place at Loughborough, with Birtley being represented by three athletes - Chris Perkins, Katie Francis and Eve Southern. All three athletes ran well, with Chris coming away with a silver medal for a very closely fought second place finish - well done all. A full report of the event by Bill McGuirk can be seen here.
Sunday saw the action come a lot closer to home, with our club hosting the 4th Birtley Junior XC Relays. Around a hundred teams from north east clubs descended onto Lord Lawson playing fields to run a surprisingly challenging cross country course. The home team won two lots of team gold - well done to the U11 girls, the "Golden Grahams" Nell, Poppy and Kitty, and the U15/17/20 girls Katie Francis, Abigail Thwaites and Tess Graham. There were also individual success for Chris Perkins (fastest U15/17/20), Katie Francis (fastest U15/17/20), Nell Graham (U11) and special kudos to Noah Williamson who despite falling at the bottom of the first hill, picked himself up and proceeded to finish in third place for the first leg of the under 11s. Full results can be seen on our results page.
This weekend (Saturday 22nd February 2020), saw three of Birtley AC’s younger athletes take part in the Blyth Sportshall Athletics Series. The first round of the series was held in November with the finale on Saturday with Poppy, Ellie and Izzy competing in both. The girls undertook five activities (64m sprint, endurance run, standing long jump, vertical jump and medicine ball chest push) and excelled at every one of them. Ellie and Izzy achieved all-time records at the series and all of the girls recorded high grades in the final rankings. With three athletes competing for Birtley AC the small team ranked 6th overall at final standings. It was an excellent achievement by all three girls – well done and here’s to many more!
This weekend saw the National XC Champs which were held at Nottingham, where the recent (and current!) storms conspired to make conditions for both spectators and athletes as difficult as possible! The journey there was not helped by bad weather on the day, and because of the state of the ground, there were some last minute changes to parking which caused huge issues with traffic, resulting in young athletes jumping out of cars in queues of traffic to make it to their race on time.
However, this was, by all accounts, an absolutely amazing cross-country course, with tree trunk obstacles, small lakes (judging by the photos anyway!) and enough mud to keep a whole farmyard of pigs happy. I think this photo of Robbie Mumford (below) sums up the amount of mud and water on the course perfectly - thanks to Steve Haywood for braving the conditions to take some amazing photos (full album can be seen on FB here)
The sixteen Birtley athletes who tackled the course on Saturday all deserve medals in my opinion, but of course, being a National Championship, they were hard to come by - huge kudos then to Chris Perkins who was up against some very stiff competition, yet came away with a bronze medal, one of only two medals for the North East - well done Chris!
Full results HERE
The Saucony “English National” is going to be muddy and wet, so if you subscribe to Facebook, you can get some, probably spectacular, pictures of yourself directly to your page.
Saucony and the ECCA have teamed up with Pic2Go to give everyone racing in this weekend‘s National XC free race photos.
Simply click on the link below and enter your race number.
For any queries you get regarding Pic2Go, they will this week update the www.pic2go.co.uk website with some FAQs and if someone does want to email a query then please direct them to our email@example.com email account.
The weather on Saturday is looking very stormy with strong winds and possibly rain so please come prepared. At least the temperature will be 10/11C.
The infrastructure is now in place with final tweaking to the start and finish areas today. A big thank you to Notts AC and the various teams for working in difficult conditions all week.
More info on our fixtures page here
One of our club members, Jamie Graham, would like to introduce a talented artist friend of his, Owen Delaney, who recently decided to turn his hobby into his full-time occupation. Judging by the examples in the article about him in Runners World, he won't regret his decision - have a read and see what he could do for you too.
Runners World - The Mapmaker
Seems the Birtley ladies weren't quite as active as usual last weekend, with the boys doing most of the running (or throwing, as it turned out)!
Saturday morning saw the Signal Relays return to their proper place in the calendar, though sadly without a female team from Birtley this year. The men, however, did us proud, with a senior men's team that didn't have a lot of seniors, but still outperformed many of the younger teams - well done to Lewis McConnell 0:11:49 Phil Atkinson 0:14:12 David Francis 0:14:46 Ian Goulding 0:15:03 Zak Scott 0:12:53 Nigel Simpson 0::12:28
Full results here
Saturday also saw the start of two days of indoor competition at the North East Counties Indoor Championships. Birtley were well represented on the first day in the field events, with a brilliant Gold medal and a massive PB for Joseph Perkins, who, despite injury, threw 9.47 - not only North Eastern champ but number 1 in the UK. Well done Joey!
Congratulations also to Ryan Cook and Fynn Errington, with silver and bronze medals - great achievements in a competitive environment. Well done to all who competed this weekend.
However, some of our ladies did also compete this weekend - 8 miles through Chopwell Woods in the dark and the rain mightn't be everyone's cup of tea, but Stephanie, Karen and Kay seemed to enjoy it, and Stephanie was first lady in her age group too - well done you mad women! (Sorry Karen, didn't have a pic with you on!)
DURHAM ASSOCIATION BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS 2020 COUNTY 5-A-SIDE FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT
On the 29th February 2020 and 1st March 2020 we will be holding our annual 5-a-side football tournament at the Soccarana in Belmont Industial Estate, Durham City, DH1 1GG with winners from this will going on to compete in the National championships at Manchester.
The boys tournament will be held on Saturday, 29th February starting at 1pm and should be finished around 4.30pm. The girls will be held on Sunday 1st March also starting at 1pm.
Please could all teams be there for registration at 12.30 for a 1pm start on the day.
This tournament is open to all affiliated clubs of Durham Association Boys and Girls Clubs, if you have footballers in your organisation that would like to compete as a team in this tournament, we would love to see you there.
You may enter 2 teams from each category, under 12, under 14, under 16. If anyone is interested in doing this, the forms are linked at the bottom of this post. Please complete these and return before the 27th February to the address on the form.
Boys Team Application Form
Girls Team Application Form
Due to a school event, we do not have access to the inside areas of the school tonight. However, Ed and Fiona's group should meet outside the PE block for training as usual, and Gary's group will meet in the car park - all welcome.
Saturday saw around 20 Birtley athletes competing in the prestigious Northern XC Championships at Bedale, a new location for this competition. Reliable sources inform me that this was a tough course, with leg sapping mud, so kudos goes to everyone who took part, let alone finished well! However, we had a couple of athletes who performed brilliantly despite the heavy going - Katie Francis, finishing just outside the top ten against some very stiff competition, and Chris Perkins, snatching the gold from his rivals in a nailbiting close finish to become Northern U15 Champion. Congratulations to them, and to all the athletes who competed. Full results can be seen here.
Not forgetting that ours is an athletics and not just a running club, let's have a shout out for Callum Chambers, a Birtley Under 11 (Year 5), who achieved a Grade 2 equivalent to AAA Standard at the North East Youth Indoor Series in the Shot Putt event - well done Callum!