Athletics: Houghton Harriers at the double with first ever team medals in Northern Cross Country Relay Championship

Houghton Harrier Henry Johnson was the second fastest runner in the Under-15 boys race.
Houghton Harrier Henry Johnson was the second fastest runner in the Under-15 boys race.

Houghton Harriers won their first ever Northern Athletics Championship team medals at Sheffield on Saturday.

And they did it in style by winning two sets of bronze medals in the area’s cross country relay championships at Graves Park.

The club’s Under-15 boys and girls teams did the business in their respective three-stage events.

Consistent running from the girls’ team of Lydia James (8min 24sec), Amy Leonard (8.29) and Anna Pigford (8.35) saw Houghton finish in 25.28, behind winners Liverpool (24.59) and runners-up Sheffield (25.23).

Next up were the boys and they lived up to all expectations with their third place finish through Henry Johnson (6.56), Chris Coulson (8.22) and Will Bellamy (7.04).

Johnson was the second fastest runner overall, with Bellamy the fourth quickest behind the fastest Ethan Hussey (Leeds), who recorded 6.50 on the first leg.

The race winners were Hallamshire (21.57) from Middlesbrough (22.16), with Houghton clocking 22.22.

Birtley also won two sets of medals, with the senior women’s team of Chloe Price (12.53), Sophie Burnett (12.27) and a storming run from Lydia Turner (12.05) securing silver medals, finishing just two seconds behind winners Lincoln (37.23).

Sale finished third (37.42). Morpeth were ninth (39.23), courtesy of Emma Holt (12.30), Gemma Floyd (13.30) and Josie Cram (13.33).

The Birtley Under-13 girls’ team of Katie Francis (6.25), Mia Openshaw (6.46) and Abigail Thwaites (6.07) picked up bronze medals in their event.

To make it a good day for the North East, the Middlesbrough Under-17 team won their event, with Josh Cowperthwaite running the fastest time of the day (6.59).

Durham were the first North East team to finish in the senior men’s relay in 16th, through Dan Jenkin (10.50), Jonathan Wilkins (12.06), Rob Everson (11.45) and Michael Grimes (11.36).

Houghton Harriers finished 41st, thanks to Lee Dover (11.39), Adam Middleton (12.41), Steven Johnson (13.21) and David Coulson (14.06). The winners were Lincoln Wellington.