The traditional curtain raiser for the cross-country season, the Ken Jefferson Memorial Open Cross Country races, were held at Farrington in Sunderland on Saturday 14th September 2019 and a successful afternoon for the club saw them win both Men’s and Women’s team competitions while also picking up a second place in the Men’s Veterans race.
Once a Harrier League venue, the relay course largely follows the same route as used then, with the deep burn (more of a muddy slurry on Saturday, but thankfully shopping trolley free) the major obstacle.
The club were always near the front of the field in the earlier Women’s race thanks to early legs by Michelle Thompson on leg 1, who clocked 11m 38s for the 1.8 mile course to come in 2nd, and Alison Brown (11m 53s) who, drafted in at late notice and not at all race fit, kept the team in contention in 4th. It was once again Rachelle Falloon who did the damage on the last leg, reeling in her rivals with apparent ease to win by a margin of several seconds, her leg of 10m 24s being the fastest women’s time of the afternoon ahead of Gosforth’s Helen Warburton.
In the Senior Men’s and Veterans race, Ross Floyd came home in 2nd place by a narrow margin on leg 1 (9m 2s), but thereafter, once Jordan Scott had put the club comfortably ahead on leg 2 (9m 9s), it was very much a procession with young Dan Dixon, like Falloon, recording the fastest time of the day (8m 58s). Dan did manage, however, to fall for the curse of the burn, as the above photo shows, taking a tumble as he attempted to hurdle over it. Lewis Timmins, his triathlon season now largely over, completed the team’s efforts in 9m 20s.
The Veteran team of Dave Nicholson (11m 14s), Jason Dawson (10m 52s), Lee Bennett (10m 7s) and Phil Walker (10m 45s) finished in a good second place in the same race behind Sunderland Harriers Veterans,
although Phil followed Dan into the burn thanks to an off-balance Jesmond Jogger
who gave him a helping hand. There were remonstrations at the end.
In the earlier, Junior races, Abi Leiper finished 3rd in 11m 4s in the U15 girls
and James Tilley 14th (11m 34s) in the U15 boys.