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Friday, 22 May 2015

Hobble joy for Tynedale runners

ICY conditions underfoot failed to prevent almost 200 runners completing the 10.5-mile Angus Tait Memorial Hexhamshire Hobble.

Runners negotiate an icy stretch of the Allendale Hobble course.

Starting and finishing at Allendale First School, 193 people successfully crossed the line after managing to negotiate the slippery course.

Reviving the tradition started by Hobble founder Angus Tait, trophies modelled on the famous golden shoe went to some Tynedale-based runners.

Keith Robson and David Armstrong, both Tynedale Harriers, won the men’s 60 and 70 categories, while Harrier Karen Robertson, representing Northumberland Fell Runners on the day, won the ladies’ 40 group.

There was more success for Tynedale when they were awarded the ladies’ team prize, introduced this year after many requests, with thanks largely to Naomi Powell finishing as third fastest female with a final time of one hour, 28 minutes and 14 seconds.

First women to cross the line was Dumfries Running Club’s Joasia Zakrzewski, who completed the route in 1:17:44 to finish a highly creditable 12th overall. She was followed by Karen Robertson (1:24:58).

It was the first time the race was sponsored by Sweatshop and all involved enjoyed the challenging conditions through the Allendale moors.

With runners coming from across the North-East and Cumbria, as well as some from further afield, there were many new faces as well as familiar ones.

The overall victor of the race was a past winner in the form of Durham Fell Runners member Andy Blackett who completed the route in just under 70 minutes.

Promoted to second after one person was disqualified for not carrying the required kit was Elswick Harrier Philip Sanderson, who picked up the trophy for fastest finisher in the men’s 40. In third was David Beech of Tyne Bridge Harriers.

Beech’s performance contributed to his club picking up the trophy for best performing men’s team.

There were trophies handed to Alnwick Harrier Bridget Peberdy as fastest in the ladies’ 50 section, and Julia King, of Eden Runners, in the ladies’ 60.

First man home for host club Allen Valley Striders was Gareth Forbes with 1:27:08, with Simon Andreassen next in 1:48:03. Alison Cutts was first local lady with 2:06:36.

There was little to split the fastest home for Tynedale Harriers, but Paul Pickett (1:18:50) just pipped teammate Peter Murphy (1:18:59) to that honour to claim 22nd overall.

Third home for Tynedale was Robert Dudley in 28th place by completing the course in 1:20:26, while unattached Hexham resident Balazs Somogyi finished 13th as he crossed in 1:17:47.

Following Naomi as fastest Tynedale female was Joanne Lee in 1:31:35 with Rachel Vincent in third in 1:33:52.

After yet another successful Hobble, Allen Valley Striders are already turning their attention to next year’s event.

The 2013 race will be the 20th anniversary and commemorative awards are being planned in addition to the usual trophies.

Early indications suggest that a record turnout will make next year’s event a birthday to remember.