Hundreds of runners from around the North East descended on
Sedgefield on Saturday 11 December for the 115th North Eastern
Counties Athletic Association (NECAA) Cross Country Championships. Hosted
by Sedgefield Harriers in East Park, the event is an iconic fixture on the
region’s grass roots sports calendar, with races for junior and senior athletes
from under 11s to senior men and women. The event returned to Sedgefield
for the second time in six years.
The action began at 10:35am with races for under 11 boys and girls, started by
Cllr Ann Carr, Mayor of Sedgefield, and Cllr Mel Carr, Chair of Sedgefield Town
Council. The NECAA championship races kicked off at 11:00am, with a series
of events for U13s, U15s, U17s and U20s, and culminating in the races with the
biggest fields, for senior men and senior women. Despite rain and snow in
recent weeks, the course was in good condition and proved popular with
athletes, presenting them with a good balance of climbs and flatter sections
through the three fields that constitute East Park.
The men’s race was won by reigning
English National Cross Country
Champion Calum Johnson of
Gateshead Harriers, with a
dominant performance. In the
women’s race, Catriona MacDonald
of Morpeth Harriers was the winner.
The men’s team event was won by
Morpeth Harriers, with Jarrow &
Hebburn AC claiming the women’s
title. The home club was well
represented in many of the races
during the day and Sedgefield
Harriers fielded the biggest team in
the senior women’s race.
Ahead of the championships,
Sedgefield Harriers recruited a large
team of volunteers to deliver the
event, with over 50 club members
contributing in many different ways.
Staging the event was a big
community effort. Sedgefield Cricket
Club hosted the race headquarters,
St. Edmund’s Explorer Scouts put up
marquees, Number Four tea room
supplied sandwiches for the
officials’ packed lunches and fruit
came from The Juicy Pear.
catering for runners was provided by
Ramside Estates. Hardwick East
Park is owned by Durham County
Council, which gave permission to
hold the event on its land, and
rangers from Hardwick Park
provided great support throughout.
Unlike in 2015, the weather didn’t
misbehave too much and feedback
from runners was that it was a really
good cross country course - fair, but
challenging, and in a lovely setting.
The club was delighted to welcome
runners of all ages to compete in
Sedgefield, representing clubs from
every part of the North East.
Sedgefield Harriers is grateful to all
of the volunteers who made the
event possible, and ensured that it
ran smoothly throughout.
As if hosting a major event wasn’t
enough for one day, Sedgefield
Harriers handed out its annual
awards the same night, at a social
event in the Parish Hall. The winners
Club Runner of the Year: Mark Chapman
Club Member of the Year: Lisa Darby
Volunteer of the Year: Stuart Park
Individual Performance: Gary Thwaites
Newcomer of the Year: Colin Gandy
Supporter of the Year: Mike Wood
Dave Sawyer Endurance Award: Jane Spink and Stuart Park
The club thanks Fay Uphill and Gary
Forster of Lost Robot for organising