The Northern Cross Country Relays took place on Saturday afternoon at Graves Park in Sheffield, although a clash with the following day’s high profile Abbey Dash 10k meant that the number of clubs represented was significantly down.
The Men’s race, held over four legs of 2 miles each, was won by Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield, whose A team recorded 41 minutes and 47 seconds. City of Sheffield and Dearne AC were 2nd in 42:28 with Vale Royal AC 3rd in 42:57.
The only North East club taking part were Sunderland Harriers and AC whose team finished 9th in 44:32, but perhaps the most telling statistic is that six of the top ten and twelve of the top twenty clubs all came from Yorkshire – although remarkably Leeds City failed to even make the top ten, perhaps showing where it was on their list of priorities. Some 57 clubs finished teams.
Fastest leg was by Angus McMillan of City of York whose 9:50 was one of only two on the day sub ten minute performances.
The Women’s race, contested over three legs and the same distance, was won by Sale Harriers in 35:20 with Rotherham Harriers A in 2nd in 36:47 and Rotherham B 3rd in 37:26.
Fastest leg of the day was by Sale’s Georgia Taylor Brown in 10:58.
The only North East team represented this time were Birtley, who finished 27th in 45:49. Some 43 clubs finished complete.
Fields were also down across all the Junior races, with only 18 clubs taking part for example in the Under 17 Boys.
Disappointingly, there was no Morpeth representation at either Junior or Senior athlete level, with a good chance to pick up medals on the regional stage missed.
The following day’s action moved to West Yorkshire with the return of the high profile and very popular Leeds Abbey Dash.
The race was taking place for the first time since 2019, when, to the consternation of all involved, the distance was found to be some 23 metres short and, as a result, all times subsequently scratched.
The organisers will have been grateful, then, for everything going off without a hitch this time, with well over two and a half thousand finishers and fine, if chilly and breezy, weather.
2021’s Dash was won by Ethiopian Kadar Omar of Birchfield Harriers in a time of 28 minutes and 46 seconds from Omar Ahmed in 2nd (28:50) and David Mullarkey 3rd (29:13). From a North East point of view, it was great to see talented U/23 Sam Charlton of Wallsend Harriers back in competitive action for the first time in a while, and finishing in 4th place in 29:17.
Performance of the weekend in a Morpeth vest was undoubtedly that of Finn Brodie who has been in fine form for the last couple of months. Finn finished in 20th place in a new pb of 29:35, one of some twenty seven runners who all ran sub 30 minutes.
Now resident in Leeds for a number of years, Phil Winkler was 116th in 33:31 and Graeme Thorpe 236th and 10th Over 45 in 36:59.
With a very high class field, the women’s race was won in a very fast time of 31:19 by Jess Piasecki of Stockport/Manchester Met with Charlotte Arter 2nd in 31:30 and Jess Judd 3rd in 31:37.