Race Rundown: Great North Run – 9th September 2018

This race doesn’t need much of an introduction, with it being perhaps one of the most iconic half marathon races in the world. Being a fairly novice runner I wanted to set myself a challenge and with the race pretty much on the doorstep I thought why not enter the ballot?! Training in earnest started in June and I gradually built up the miles through the weeks. Then came race day – my first attempt at 13.1 miles! I think I was more nervous in the morning about getting to the start line having read a lot about busy metro lines but in the end it all went smoothly and I even had time to meet up with friends from work who were also racing.

After that, it was time to go to the start along with approximately 43,000 other people, unfortunately I didn’t see any of the other 21 Harriers who were also racing. It is quite an experience to be lined up with that many people and to know I was in the same race as Mo Farah!

I crossed the start line 12 minutes after the gun went off, I thought it was going to be busy at the start but we were all pretty well spread out. I went off too fast (definitely need to work on my race pacing) but as I got down towards the Tyne bridge I tried to settle into it, however that proved tricky with so many people on the road. This wasn’t helped by people starting to walk at around 3 miles, if you’re doing a half marathon do some training!

By mile 7, the legs were starting to complain, time to dig in, and focus, however easier said than done with everything going on and the heat. Had to make use of all the water stations and the showers and by mile 10 I was beginning to slow, the long drag uphill really does take it out of you. It was quite a relief when it levelled out. Then there was the short downhill to the sea front, round the corner and then the end was finally in sight, but that last stretch, it felt so far. I never thought the finish line would come but getting closer I took one final look at my watch, saw there was a chance to still get under 2 hours and just went as fast as I could (admittedly not that fast at the end of 13 miles) but crossed the line exhausted in 1:59:47. I’d done it, first half marathon completed and really pleased to meet my goal of sub 2 hours, even if it was only by 13 seconds!

I am glad I can tick the Great North Run off the list, but I won’t be entering the ballot this year – too many people and the logistics of trying to find the family afterwards and getting home put a bit of a dampener on the day. However, it certainly gave me the bug for running, I’m hooked now!

By Fay Uphill

Link to results: https://www.greatrun.org/myresults

Club Dinner 2016

For the second year running, the Annual Dinner was held at Hardwick Hall Hotel. After dinner, Tracy Brown and Steve Foreman reminded the assembled guests about FoSH and the ways in which we could all help before conducting a fun game of heads or tails. Together with an auction for a pair of hand-crafted medal hangers generously donated by Ray Carmichael, £120 was raised for FoSH. Star of the night was Lisa Darby who added 4 trophies to her already bulging cabinet: Newcomer of the Year, Runner of the Year, Time Trial winner and Divison 1 Grand Prix winner. Justin Coxtook Performance of the Year for his superb York marathon and qualifying for England. For her astonishing return to sprinting, Frances Barlow took Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Supporter of the Year was won by Ray Carmichaelfor supporting other athletes despite being a very active competitor himself. Ray also won the Division 1 Grand Prix. For her fantastic work with the beginners’ groups and for her all round enthusiasm and generosity, Sheree Lyons was chosen by the committee as Volunteer of the Year. Club Member of the Year was awarded to Tracy Brown for her hard work behind the scenes with the minis and minors and her work with FoSH and co-organising the Serpentine race. The Grand Prix winners were: Division One – Ray Carmichael (men) and Lisa Darby (women); Division Two – Helen Letts(women) and David Round (men). Kieran Walker was the fastest man in the Time Trial and Lisa Darby took the women’s title.


Club Dinner 2015

A celebration of the first ten years of the club was held at Hardwick Hall Hotel. Archie Jenkins, secretary of NECAA was invited to speak and gave an enthusiastic assessment of all the club had achieved before proceeding to present the awards. Deb Pennick took Newcomer of the Year award after making strong improvements and representing the club in many races. Individual Performance of the Year was awarded to Gary Thwaites for his astonishing year of marathons which saw him complete his 50th marathon. Gary also took Club Runner of the Year. Track and Field Athlete was presented to James Oldfield for “having a go” at track and field and taking the club steeplechase and javelin records in the process. Kev Archbold took Supporter of the Year for his many hours of coaching and behind the scenes work. The committee chose Helen Letts as Volunteer of the Year. Helen gives up a lot of time to support the juniors as well as being actively involved in the beginners group and helping co-ordinate coaches and the club’s accreditations. Club Member of the Year was taken by Ean Parsons, in this the anniversary year, having previously ruled himself out of the voting. As it was the tenth anniversary of the club, two further awards were made: Club Runner of the First Ten Years of the Club was awarded to Ean Parsons. Club Member of the First Ten Years of the Club was award to Marie Walker. Additionally, the club presented three bespoke trophies made by Ray Carmichael to say #THX to three people who have been instrumental in building it to what it is today: Marie Walker, Scott Hydon and founder and chair for the first ten years, Ean Parsons. The grand prix winners were: Division One – Paul Weir (men) and Tracy Glaister (women); Division Two – Paul Glaister (men) and Deb Pennick (women). The Time Trial winners were James Oldfield (men) and Tracy Henderson (women).

The club also received a video message from Steve Cram and Daley Thompson congratulating the club on its first ten years.

We also paid our respects to Vicki Wetherspooon who was taken from us during the year.


Club Dinner 2014

The club Annual Dinner and Awards night was held at the Parish Hall in Sedgefield on Friday 14th November with guest speaker Alan Bell.  Chief International starter, Alan Bell describes himself as ‘I’m not famous but when I speak the world listens’.  He regaled the Harriers and their partners and guests with anecdotes form his long and illustrious career as an international athletics official including disqualifying Usain Bolt in the World Championships 100m final and about his unforgettable experiences at London 2012.  The evening was one of celebration for Sedgefield Harriers at which awards were made for performance and contribution to the club.  Paul Glaister was named as Supporter of the Year for supporting his daughters and his wife at competitions; James Oldfield was voted as Newcomer of the Year for his fantastic performances since joining the club; Jane Spink, Track and Field Athlete of the Year for competing in Javelin; Tracy Brown was voted by the club committee as Volunteer of the Year for all the work she does coaching juniors and in support of many club activities; Paula Warwick was voted by members as Club Member of the Year for competing and her contribution to the club generally; pride of place went to David Sawyer who was voted both Performance of the Year and Runner of the Year for his fantastic achievement of competing in 5 marathons, 5 half-marathons, 5 10k’s and 5 5k’s and if that wasn’t enough, running 98 miles between Sedgefield and Bamburgh on the last weekend of his challenge to race in the Castles Half Marathon – all in aid of Breast Cancer Research.  Christine Hearmon and Paul Weir received the annual club Grand Prix trophies and Abie Hearmon and James Oldfield were winners of the annual time trial trophies. There was a fantastic raffle and half the proceeds went to the club and half to Marie Curie Nursing Care, the clubs’ adopted charity for the next twelve months in memory of Club Secretary Gail Bell who sadly recently lost her personal battle with cancer.


Club Dinner 2013

The club dinner of 2013 was held in Sedgefield Parish Hall with guests Peter Barron , Editor of the Northern Echo, Mel Carr, Mayor of Sedgefield and John Stacey, England Athletics who all said a few words in praise of the club and made two awards each.  The award winners were; Marie Walker, Club Member of the Year (for the thrid time); Gary Thwaites, Club Runner of the Year; Kevin Archbold, Volunteer of the Year; Matthew Jones, Individual Athletic Performance of the Year; David Round, Newcomer of the Year; Alan Tait, Supporter of the Year.  The club also made a special presentation to Club Chair and Founder Ean Parsons in recognition of his on-going contribution to the the club.  There was a record list of nominations for awards and of votes cast; a list of the nominations is below.


Club Dinner 2012

The 2012 dinner was held on Thursday 29 November at Sedgefield Racecourse. Guest speaker was Olympian Alison Curbishley who talked about her experience the 2012 London Olympics. Funds were raised for the club as well as Alison’s partner Steve Cram’s charity, COCO. Club member of the year went to Jane Spink, Runner of the Year was Diane Baines and Volunteer of the Year was Tim Dredge.

Club Dinner 2011

Our club dinner in 2011 was held at the Hardwick Arms in Sedgefield.  Guest speaker was Olympic Marathon Bronze Medallist and current English marathon record holder, Charlie Spedding who comes originally from Ferryhill.  Charlie provided us with a mementous evening and made awards to Diane Baines for Club Member of the Year and Volunteer of the Year and to Jason ‘Ferryhill Flyer’ Catterall for Club Runner of the Year.