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!
UPDATE Due to increased rainfall at the Camp Hill Estate in Bedale we have had to slightly alter the layout for the XC Championships on Saturday. Please see the picture below.
The information on parking, facilities, course maps etc. can be downloaded in pdf form here (apologies, that's all that's been sent to me so I can't reproduce all the info here.)
Remember, this is a stand-alone competition, with new bib numbers (which will be collected by one of the coaches first thing in the morning, I'd take a guess at Gary Curtis!) - please don't wear your Harrier league numbers or you'll be disqualified!
If anyone is happy to car-share, please comment with your name and how many seats you can offer on this post (rather than FB, which not all of our members are on)
Good luck to all our athletes, and just in case you've forgotten whether you entered or not, here's the list of entrants:-
David Francis Senior Men - 12.3k - 15.05
Katie Francis U15 Girls - 4.3k - 12.55
Kelly Bentley Senior Women - 8.0k - 14.15
Kirsty Walker Senior Women - 8.0k - 14.15
Paul Agnew Senior Men - 12.3k - 15.05
Shannel Curtis Senior Women - 8.0k - 14.15
Lee Drummond Senior Men - 12.3k - 15.05
Kay Drummond Senior Women - 8.0k - 14.15
Amy Drummond U17 Women - 4.9k - 11.00
Matthew Drummond U13 Boys - 3.08k -12.40
Darren M Purvis Senior Men - 12.3k - 15.05
George Beevers U15 Boys - 4.6k - 13.20
Ben Brownless U13 Boys - 3.08k -12.40
Christopher Perkins U15 Boys - 4.6k - 13.20
Eve Southern Junior Women - 6.2k - 11.25
Robbie Mumford U15 Boys - 4.6k - 13.20
Abigail Thwaites U15 Girls - 4.3k - 12.55
Scarlett Newby U17 Women - 4.9k - 11.00
Lewis Watson U13 Boys - 3.08k -12.40
Rebecca Pottinger Senior Women - 8.0k - 14.15
Olivia Callaghan U15 Girls - 4.3k - 12.55
Lorna Graham Senior Women - 8.0k - 14.15
Tess Graham U17 Women - 4.9k - 11.00
Maggie Graham U13 Girls - 3.08k - 11.55
Daisy Graham U13 Girls - 3.08k - 11.55
Adrian Bailes Senior Men - 12.3k - 15.05
Greg Poulton Senior Men - 12.3k - 15.05
Nigel Simpson Senior Men - 12.3k - 15.05
Ami-Leigh Dodds U13 Girls - 3.08k - 11.55
Chloe Fairclough U17 Women - 4.9k - 11.00
The male masters athlete who unfortunately took ill during the race this morning is now in hospital - many thanks for your concerns over his welfare, as soon as we have news of his recovery we will let you know. Huge thanks to the people involved in administering CPR which undoubtedly saved his life before the air ambulance arrived. Update - the gentleman is now sitting up in bed in hospital, dazed and a little confused but hopefully on the mend.
In other news, provisional results will be on this website very soon - check this link and email firstname.lastname@example.org with corrections please (there will be lots!).
Photos from the day, taken by Stuart Whitman, can be seen on the following links Senior Men, Women and Masters Men
Huge thanks to all the Birtley members who volunteered today (as well as running in many cases!), and of course thank you to all the officials who kept calm and carried on this morning. Thanks also to the runners who competed today - we hope you enjoyed the course and we look forward to seeing you again next year! Don't forget, the Junior Relays will take place on Sunday 8th March.
Due to waterlogged fields at Barnard Castle School, the Schools XC Championships have been cancelled and will not be rearranged. Selection details for the Inter-counties will be announced on the website ASAP.
We'd like to help new members to get started with our club by providing a group aimed at novice runners - those who have possibly completed a couch to 5k course, or who have recently come to running and don't have the confidence or skill set (yet) to get involved with the main coaching groups. To do this, we need more qualified run leaders - this involves a one day course (very local at Hebburn) which would be financed by the club, in return for you helping out with the group mentioned above every couple of weeks or so. You wouldn't need to do it every week as the workload would be shared, and you needn't miss out completely on your own training, as it would only be the odd Tuesday night session you'd be missing.
If you think you could do this, further info on the course can be found here - please email me if interested (as soon as possible, as the next course takes place in March).
Are you at least 35? Are you members of NEMAA (North East Masters Athletics Association)? If not, why not? Our XC Relays this Sunday incorporate the Masters XC Relay Champs, and the Masters Cross Country Champs take place on 1st February at Cramlington - with individual medals available in 5 year age groups, here's your chance to add to your silverware!
There are loads of races throughout the year that incorporate Masters Champs in them (e.g. the Heaton Memorial incorporated the Masters 10k champs last year), and let's not forget the Track and Field League, with six matches over the season at the bargain price of £5 per match (for up to 3 events), which is only available to NEMAA members.
Membership of NEMAA is only £15 for the year, and this also gives you access to any BMAF events as well as international competition. If you are already a member, make sure you renew before the end of January this year - here's the renewal link (it'll cost you £25 after the 31st January so don't miss out!)