NECAA Road Relay Championships / Royal Signals Relays Hetton Lyons Country Park – 17th Feb 2024

by Brad Wight

What an unbelievable turnout for Crook! 66 runners across 14 teams with all age categories represented. More runners than any other club! The organisers weren’t joking when they responded to our entry submission with “I’m beginning to worry I haven’t ordered enough numbers.” Alistair Hart had to run with a hand drawn number and I noticed a few XC numbers being re-cycled too!

The first race of the day saw the Women, Veteran Women (over 35) and V50 men compete in a four stage relay. There were some cracking individual performances, notably from Captain Lisa who pipped Jo Raine to the fastest leg of the day by a Crook lady but these races aren’t all about times – I personally took pleasure in seeing new members like Dawn and Lianne making their debut and others like Sharon B who’ve been out of action for a long time making a very welcome return to competition!

After coming close last year, our V50 men had high hopes of challenging for the title. Stan’s tactical plan was to put our fastest runners out last in the hope that other teams would go fastest first meaning we’d have targets to aim at rather than being in the rifle sights ourselves. The plan worked a trieat Jason A completed the first leg in 6th place handing over to Peter C then Chris A who between them worked us right back up to 2nd. Stan set out on the final lap a full 60 seconds behind North Shields Poly but by the halfway stage had reduced the deficit to only 150 metres. He kept the pressure on in the final lap and took the win with a clear 50 metre lead. The change in lead on the last lap was so great the officials missed Stan crossing the line and gave Poly the win – thankfully this was quickly resolved! Well done Gents – North East Road Relay Champs!

The second race of the day was the six stage Senior Men’s and V40 Men, no medals for us but some cracking individual performances, the stand-out for me was Rory Hart who at only 17 years old put in the fastest leg of the day by a Crook athlete, pipping fellow A-team runner Kegron by a single second!

As with the ladies, it was great to see some returns from injury; Paul C, Andy S and Chris H all back in red and gold, as well as our debutants Matt B, Thom M, and Harry R who only joined the club a few days earlier and raced alongside his Mam Clare and Grandad Richard!

Another great takeaway for me was the fact that we had four U17s racing with the seniors, Alex M who’s only 15, and Harry, Rory and Lewis M. I think it’s very important that we make Crook Juniors feel welcome as they progress through to the senior ranks and we definitely did that last weekend. Hopefully we’ll get some of our younger athletes out again for the Neptune Relays on 1st May!

Huge thanks to everyone who ran, supported, helped with the tent and numbers on the day. Looking forward to next year already!

Age Cat Name Time
VW Lisa Donaldson 0:14:22
VW Joanne Raine 0:14:24
VW Kimberley Clay 0:15:06
SW Amy Etherington 0:15:07
VW Sam Dixon 0:15:33
VW Laura Newby Higginbottom 0:16:09
VW Amanda Taylor 0:16:54
VW Jillian Berry 0:17:18
VW Claire Weir 0:17:24
VW Dawn Milburn 0:17:53
VW Jayne Henderson 0:17:54
VW Clare Rose 0:19:15
VW Melanie Riley 0:19:19
VW Gayle Askwith 0:20:03
VW Sharron Trevor 0:21:24
VW Lianne Steed 0:22:00
VW Sharon Bridge 0:22:03
VW Clare Moore 0:23:21
VW Patricia White 0:23:36
VW Clare Hodgson 0:24:36
Age Cat Name Time
SM Rory Hart 0:11:46
SM Kieron Day 0:11:47
SM Josh Pearson 0:12:12
SM Robert Teasdale 0:12:19
SM Sam Etherington 0:12:21
VM50 Wayne Pearson 0:12:33
SM Alex Hird 0:12:42
SM Chris Henderson 0:12:43
SM Andy Simpson 0:12:45
SM Dean Stockdale 0:12:46
VM50 Peter Clough 0:13:00
VM40 Jon Rose 0:13:09
VM40 Bradley Wight 0:13:11
VM50 Chris Auld 0:13:12
SM Craig Westgarth 0:13:15
VM50 Alistair Hart 0:13:15
VM40 Kris Whitelaw 0:13:21
SM Daniel Staples 0:13:22
VM50 Jason Alison 0:13:26
SM Ian Thompson 0:13:29
SM Lewis Moore 0:13:44
SM Nathan Ashton 0:14:04
SM Harry Rose 0:14:05
SM Matt Bellamy 0:14:16
SM Simon Pickering 0:14:25
SM Ryan Etherington 0:14:31
VM40 Andy Hodgson 0:14:44
VM40 Matthew Brimm 0:15:09
SM Thom Milburn 0:15:16
SM Lee Higginbottom 0:15:25
VM50 Peter Coser 0:15:26
VM50 Darren Fairclough 0:15:41
VM50 Geoff Hewitson 0:15:49
VM40 Paul Campbell 0:16:06
SM Ben Auld 0:16:17
VM50 Andrew Turnell 0:16:53
VM50 Mark Standbridge 0:16:54
VM50 Paul Smith 0:17:35
VM50 Philip Healey 0:18:17
VM50 Richard Jones 0:18:26
VM50 Graham Laverick 0:18:32
VM50 Martin Harbisher 0:19:59
SM Alex Merryweather 0:21:12
VM50 Joe Hall 0:21:57
VM50 George Cawkwell 0:23:27
VM50 Percy Parkin 0:25:43