Shildon Seniors turned out in force at Sunday’s NYSD Cross Country event at Summerhill, Hartlepool. This is the first season for many years that Shildon have had more than a handful of seniors racing in cross-country events but 16 enthusiastic runners turned out for this challenging course, the toughest in the NYSD calendar.  For ten of the seniors this was their first ever cross-county and some were a little apprehensive about the depth of the steep-sided beck they had to run through!
Fourteen women competed and first home for Shildon was Amy Etherington who finished in 5th position and 1st U20.  An excellent run for Amy despite her having already raced at the Durham Cathedral Relays a few hours earlier.  Consistent cross country racer Elizabeth Wood was second home for Shildon after a fast finish for 16th position and 2nd U20.
Third team counter Shannon Ross (U17) and the youngest member of the team, had an excellent run to finish 41st with cross-country newcomer Lynne Foster only 7 seconds behind her and completing the scoring  team for Shildon.  A fantastic run from Lynne who is showing great potential for next season.  First-timer Jeannette Turner finished 45th, and loved the whole cross-country experience and is another one to watch next season.
Hazel Johnson ran well to finish in 51st position despite her new spikes not arriving in time for the race and led the next bunch of Shildon women, with Donna Dunbar in 53rd, followed closely by Julie Cane in 55th all showing no fear of the hills or the mud.  Only 10 seconds behind, experienced cross-country veteran Pat Edwards was delighted with 56th position after a confident surge in the later stage of the race gained her several places.  Hot on her heels, and spurred on by the course atmosphere and team spirit were Helen Race 58th, Nicola Dent 59th and Irene Ross 61st.
It was amazing to see these seven ladies all finishing within 48 seconds of each other.  Andrea Lowery enjoyed every step of her first cross country course especially the water jump and finished in 76th position. Sarah Tilley also enjoyed the atmosphere on the day and smiled all the way to the finish for 77th place to complete the women’s team.
The Shildon Women’s team did extremely well to finish in 5th place, an excellent achievement.
In the Senior Men’s race two Shildon athletes, also in their first cross country event, completed three big laps of the muddy undulating course.  After a lot of sliding around in shoes without spikes Ian Rudge stormed to the finish spurred on by cheers from the other Shildon finishers in 103rd position followed by a determined Dave Beadle (also not wearing spikes) in 105th.
Dave had slipped on a sharp bend and gashed his arm but still enjoyed the whole experience and both men are looking forward to the next cross-country outing when they will definitely be using spikes.
The next  NYSD meeting is at Richmond Racecourse on Sunday 9th February 2014.