An annual running event saw a big turnout of athletes from around the region this week. Organised by Sedgefield Harriers, the Neptune Relays were held on a chilly evening in Hardwick Park on Wednesday 27 April. 115 teams from throughout the North East and North Yorkshire competed for the Neptune titles and the traditional prizes of fruit. The main event was preceded by a junior handicap race of young runners aged 5-11.
In the men’s event, Durham City Harriers triumphed, while Crook & District Athletic Club won the women’s race. Durham also claimed the junior boys title, and the winning girls team was from Billingham Marsh House Harriers. Billingham earned a second victory in the men’s veteran 50 race and the women’s veteran 45 race was won by Elvet Striders. The non-club category saw a win for ‘Coxhoe Striders’.
Sedgefield Harriers first hosted the Neptune Relays in 2008, when 13 teams competed. The event grew steadily for the next few years, but has enjoyed a big surge in participation since 2012, with clubs from all over the North East and North Yorkshire sending teams to Hardwick Park. In addition, the event attracts a lot of teams from community running groups, such as those supported by Run England, along with runners who are not members of any clubs.
Event director Ean Parsons comments: “As always, the Neptune Relays has proved to be a highlight of the Sedgefield Harriers calendar. The event continues to attract great support from clubs all over the region, along with plenty of runners who aren’t affiliated. We’re grateful to Hardwick Park for allowing us to host the relays there – it’s a wonderful setting for runners and supporters alike. None of this would be possible without the contribution of many volunteers from Sedgefield Harriers and the wider North East athletics community – we’re very grateful for their help in putting on another great grass roots event.”
During the evening, the charity Friends of Sedgefield Harriers (FoSH) ran a cake stall and raised over £120. FoSH is leading the fundraising campaign to build a training track in Sedgefield. To make a donation, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, and to find out more about Sedgefield Harriers, visit www.sedgefieldharriers.com or follow @SedgeHarriers on Twitter.
Words by Chris Lines
Photos by kind permission of Julie Geddes