After a season of continual improvement, it’s become a challenge to find new ways to say how impressive our juniors have become. For the club, our participation in the harrier league has always been central to our identity. A huge turnout has always been a badge of honour, which in turn has produced some fantastic results, and ultimately kudos across the regional running scene. As such, it’s the perfect barometer of how our junior section is developing.

Put in simple numbers, at the first fixture at Wrekenton we had 14 athletes across the junior categories. At Alnwick on Saturday, we more than doubled that initial turnout to a massive 33!

I drove up with Mabyn and Finn, with a playlist of the Premier League football walk-out song to get us pumped up for the action ahead. I of course, can’t think of a better tune than ‘This Is the One’ by the Stone Roses, Finn favoured the emotional ‘You’ll never walk alone’, and Mabyn opted for ‘Right here, right now’ by Fat Boy Slim. However, we did all agree that ‘Going Home, theme from Local Hero’ is a stone-cold classic (and most appropriate for us in the black and white of TBH).

We arrived yet again to decent weather (climate change is ruining cross country’s reputation!) and met up with Finn’s sister Ella, fresh from a league football match, or a warm-up as I like to think of it. They were all very taken with the cinematic setting of the event, but that was still secondary to their focus on the race ahead. Once racing shoes were laced up and the last drinks were drunk, we went to find space to get the legs ready for action. This was when I first realised that the day would be a little bit special. Instead of our usual isolated efforts, the three kids joined in with SEVEN other U11s in a full squad warm-up led expertly by Ian Pickett.

Off then to the start of a race, which seems to think it was a fell race – straight up then straight down. The U11 boys were off first, with all three TBHers coming in the top 20! Finn was first home for the club in 9th, with Daniel and Sam not far behind in 17th and 19th respectively.

The U11 girls were next to tackle the Muur van Alnwick. Ella had clearly been picking up tips from the eventual winner (whose family had kindly given her a lift to the race) as she stormed home in 4th place in her first Harrier League race ever! She was well supported by Mabyn (9th), Jessica (21st), Amelie (38th), Cara (39th), Bethan (48th), and Elodie (52nd).

We then filled up on chips and went about support duties for the rest of the team. Mabyn, Finn, Ella, and I were joined by Cara in a prime location close to the finish line. Their endorphin high translated into some highly enthusiastic support. And we were treated to some epic finishes. Race after race the determination was etched on each TBHer’s face. A particular highlight for me was after witnessing a classic sprint finish involving Ruby Colver, chief cheerleader, Cara Ricci, turned to Mabyn and said “Did you see her face? She [Ruby] looked like a warrior! We should be the Tyne Bridge Warriors!”

It was fabulous to see so many taking part and some stunning performances, most notably: David Carr coming home FIRST in the U17 boys; and Florence, Melina, and Eliza FIRST team in U13 girls! Results are listed below, but they don’t tell the full story of every single athlete’s resolve to give it their all.

Cross country can seem daunting, given the gazelle-like ability of some, and the possible mental scars some of us hold from our school days. But the Harrier League is the gem in our race calendar. I’m so pleased that Dave Moir first got me involved and that joy is now spreading throughout our juniors. The smiles, tales, and camaraderie are difficult to beat and now it’s sad that it’s over till autumn.

Congratulations to all those that ran, I hope you enjoyed it, or at least feel race ready for the road season ahead. A huge thank you to all parents and carers that ferried and fed kids, sorted race numbers, carried the tent, and shouted encouragement. It was all worth it. And of course, to Morag and her legendary traybake, which is the real reason why so many attend!


U11 boys

9 – Finlay Harwood

17 – Daniel Pippard

19 – Samuel Snell

U11 girls

4 – Ella Harwood

9 – Mabyn Goffe

21 – Jessica Snowball

38 – Amelie Bone

39 – Cara Ricci

48 – Bethan Pickett

52 – Elodie Lagadec

U13 boys, 8th team

18 – Aidan Whitfield

30 – Henry Pickett

43 – Ernie Bigg

48 – Charlie Kilgour

55 – Marcus Bigg

U13 girls, 1st team

3 – Florence Snaith

5 – Melina Bourgenot-Lewis

6 – Eliza Palmer

U15 boys, 4th team

11 – Jake Parker

12 – Freddy Palmer

32 – Lucas Powell

34 – Joel Tanser

38 – George Weare

41 – Liam Whitelaw

44 – Evan Wilkinson

U15 girls, 2nd team

3 – Naimah Michla

13 – Ruby Ditchburn

17 – Ruby Colver

25 – Alanah Perowne

29 – Adeline Bourgenot-Lewis

U17 boys, 2nd team

1 – David Carr

6 – Jake Moir

22 – Zak Kettle

Written by: Louis Goffe



2 Responses

  1. Great report Louis, which captures the growth and atmosphere of TBH Juniors participation in the NEHL events. I recall, only a few years ago, when we had the odd runner in every other event, but we are increasingly now the best represented club, especially in the younger age groups.

    A real good news story.

  2. 4 individual medals for TBH at this fixture, David Carr getting the gold (only the second individual gold for the club I think) in the U17 boys, Naimah Michal the bronze in U15 girls, Florence Snaith bronze in the U13 girls and Jess Eaton in her second ever race getting the bronze in the senior ladies. Well done all some great running all round

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