Cross country success for Swaledale Runners

Swaledale Runners have had many successes in road, trail and fell running over recent years, but have not been involved in cross country as a club for over two decades.

The club decided to join the North Yorkshire & Durham Harriers League for the 2023/24 season, with 19 clubs competing. 28 club members signed up for the winter series that ran from October to March.

The first race at Acklam in October was a gentle introduction to cross country, with fair weather and not too much mud.

Some runners had never tried cross country before, or at least not since their school days, but there was a great turnout from the club and some excellent performances. Jess Young, Helen Burrell, Abbie Hull and Emily Abbey managed to take third place for the Ladies.

At the second race at Foxrush, Redcar, the team went one better and secured second place, thanks to leading Swaledale Runners Jess Young, Helen Burrell, Isabel Mordue and Abbie Hull.

As winter set in conditions got tougher, but the ladies battled through the mud at Hartlepool in November to swipe the top spot, thanks to Jess Young, Helen Burrell, Isabel Mordue and Sarah Botting.

This was followed by a second place at Ormesby Hall in January, with Helen Burrell, Freya Narayan, Isabel Mordue and Rachael Ridley leading the team.

The fifth race took place in Whitby, which turned into an excuse for a coach trip. Team spirits were running high and our Ladies team regained first position after great running by Jess Young, Helen Burrell, Isabel Mordue and Emily Abbey. Even in February some runners couldn’t resist celebrating with fish and chips, strolling down to the beach, even going for a dip in the sea.

The final cross-country race was on home turf, on the old racecourse in Richmond. Supporters were out in force, the Swaledale green flag was flying high – and the ladies clinched the top spot once again, led home by Jess Young, Helen Burrell, Isabel Mordue and Rachael Ridley. So after an absence of over 20 years Swaledale ladies were league winners, ahead of Stockton Striders in second and New Marske Harriers in third.

Several ladies will also be receiving medals in their individual age groups: Isabel Mordue (senior women, third equal); Jess Young (vet 35 women, first); Helen Burrell (vet 60 women, first); Helen Nicholson (vet 60 women, second); Martha McBarron (vet 65 women, first).

These will be presented at the relay event on March 24th.