Hello, and welcome to a new feature, the Poly monthly review. The articles will be based on information from the members, so if there’s something you want to see featured, please let me know.

Starting with Cross Country, February the 2nd saw some of our more mature (at least in calendar terms) members competing in the NEMAA Cross Country Championships, in the snow, at the Rising Sun Country Park, Wallsend. Alison Smith and Heather Gould competed in the womens’ race, with Dave Morris, Mark Smith, Huw Parry (no word yet on whether the hipflask was deployed), Barry Young, Dan Venner, Barrie Mackenzie, and Matt Offer among the men. Great performances from them all, and well done.

A week later, and the Poly were in action en masse at Thornley Hall Farm, in the penultimate Harrier League fixture. The course could certainly be described as ‘rugged’. I did ask various runners for their opinion on the race, but most of the responses cannot be published; ‘the worst race I’ve ever run’ is about the only one we can get away with (bet you’re back next year though). The younger Poly runners performed well, and were a credit to their club, and evidence of the great work done by their coaches. The men rose above the conditions to claim the 2nd Division Championship, with a fixture to spare. Check back next month to see if the women were able to claim top spot in the 1st Division at the final fixture.

Later in the month, the National Cross Country Championships took place at Harewood House, Leeds. Despite finding the venue under a blanket of fog, the sun soon got out to illuminate many bravura performances from the Poly youngsters. The club was also able to field full teams in both mens’ and womens’ races, and there were many spectacular performances in the afternoon sunshine. Running in the Nationals is an incredible experience, not least due to the sheer scale of the event. Everyone should try it.

The womens’ start at the National. An awesome sight.

Staying with the theme of hills and mud, it was a busy month for the Poly fell-runners. Both adults and youngsters took part in the spectacular High Cup Nick race; I’m told that Ben Heaney, and Lewis-Dale pair Bea and Aidan, did remarkably well, while there were too many good performances to mention in the senior race. In addition, I’m told the Poly fielded runners at Wadsworth Trog, Heartbeat Hobble, and Glaisdale Rigg. Hat-tip of the month, though,  must go to Mark Smith, who is now the holder of the Poly record for Abraham’s Tea Round, described as ‘a 30 mile route with 12,000+ feet of ascent’. I’m tired just reading that. Well done to Mark; I’m sure the tea tasted wonderful after that! There are also rumours of another Poly athlete limbering up for an attempt at the legendary Bob Graham Round. More details as we get them

Meanwhile, there was some excitement as the ballot results started to appear for the Great North [That’s enough of that! -Ed.]

The Poly team at the Duergar

While some of our members were enjoying the sunshine at the XC nationals, others were preparing for a night-time race at the Duergar. A ten mile night-time trail race through Northumberland countryside reportedly inhabited by Duergar (dwarves intent on leading participants astray; a good excuse if one ends up in the pub, I think), saw a crack team of Poly athletes strap on their head torches and set off.

The very next day was earmarked for the annual poly ‘Run For Bob’ event. 160 runners set off through the fog for a run up the coast, over trails through Holywell Dene, then back down the waggonways, finishing back at our track. A great event made possible by an army of volunteers, organised by our own John Brettell.

Can I just mention the ballot for the Great [No -Ed.]

It’s been a great month for our young athletes in track and field. Eight of our youngsters took part in the North of England U13/U15 Indoor Championships in Sheffield on the 3rd of February, with several of them earning medals. Top marks to Lucy Fitzpatrick, Katie Joslyn, Josh Blevins, Lily Lee, Joanna Irving, Rhys Brunton, Maddie Barbour, and Anna Fitzpatrick for making the journey, and competing so well. Later in the month, more Poly athletes made the journey down to compete in the Indoor Championships. There were great efforts from all, including medal-winning performances. Well done everyone!

Just some of the Poly team at Glasgow

Meanwhile, several Poly veterans were doing the club proud at the Scottish Masters Indoor Championships at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. Coach Ron Stewart took his crack team of sprinters along, and they were among a strong team from the club. For more details, see Alan Keegan’s excellent report on the club Facebook page. In the meantime, keep an eye out for more news of the British Masters indoors at Lee Valley, London in March.

As far as road races go, there was disappointment as the Royal Signal Relays at Hetton-le-Hole were postponed, due to a little local difficulty, apparently relating to insurance. We hope to see the race rescheduled in some form soon.

Ah, road races. This must be a good time to mention the Great Nor [Just stop it -Ed.]

Other road relays in the near future include the Good Friday relays; there is already a sign-up sheet in the clubhouse for this most excellent event. Hopefully you don’t need me to tell you when the race is.

Staying with road racing, club legend and Fray Bentos shareholder Greg Penn kicked off the 2019 marathon season with a cracking performance in Seville. March will see up to 17 Poly runners competing in the Kielder Dark Skies 26.5 (technically an Ultra then), while in April the club will be represented as far afield as Paris, London, and Boston Massachusetts. Good luck to all of you!

That’s all for this month. Good luck to all competing in March, enjoy your running, and Up The Poly!

Is there just time to mention the Grea [That’s all! -Ed.]

Photos courtesy of Mark and Alison Smith, Alan Keegan, and John Sutcliffe


Author: Roger Mosedale


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