Harriers find new course at Tynedale a real challenge

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In common with the 500 or so other finishers, runners from Morpeth Harriers found the new Tynedale 10-mile course a real challenge on August Bank Holiday Sunday.

Traditionally the Tynedale 10 (known affectionately to those taking part as the ‘jelly tea’ run in honour of the post race hospitality) has been held on the Sunday of the August Bank Holiday weekend and has marked the impending approach of autumn.

The much-loved route through the Tyne Valley started on the outskirts of Hexham, wove through the centre of Corbridge towards Bywell and meandered along the banks of the Tyne, before finishing in the grounds of Ovingham Middle School.

Whether it was the difficulties of negotiating the centre of Corbridge, the continued closure of Ovingham Bridge or the loss of parking at the middle school is unclear, but this year the race organiser, Tynedale Harriers, came up with a new route based around Hexham Racecourse.

This year, a steep descent south from the racecourse towards Dipton Mill and a route thereafter very much uphill and down dale culminated in a final ascent back to the racecourse of a mile and a half, so it was wholly unsurprising that most competitors found their expected times markedly down on what they had hoped for.

Morpeth veteran Norman Clark even went as far as describing the course as one of the toughest races he’d done in 35 years of racing, and many participants questioned whether they would return to such a challenge.

Hearty congratulations were certainly due to all who finished then. Elswick Harriers Tadele Geremew and Justina Heslop won the men’s and women’s races, Tadele coming home in 56m 8s and Justina in 63m 4s.

Only six runners managed to break the hour mark, but one of them was Morpeth’s Sam Hancox (59m 52s), who appeared less put out than most by the course.

Matthew Boyle also had a good run to finish in 11th place in 61m 59s. Paul Waterston (65m 24s) and Rob Hancox (66m 7s) chased each other home to finish 21st and 22nd,

Paul picking up 2nd over-50 and also NEMAA silver prizes. Lorna Macdonald was Morpeth’s first female finisher in a time of 76m 37s and 13th in the women’s race, but the Macdonalds as a family deserve a mention for turning out en masse, with father Alistair coming home home first in 74m, Catriona the 15th woman in 78m 43s and mother Margaret also completing the course.

Other Morpeth Harriers to complete were: Paul Banks, 70th; Jim Alder, 72nd; Steve Haswell, 79th; Peter Scaife, 117th; Richard Sill, 161st; Norman Clark; Sue Smith and Carol Parry, 351st and 352nd.