Claire's 'chuffed to bits' after qualifying for British Masters run
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A DALE athlete has described securing an England vest for a major half marathon next year as a dream come true.
Claire Hesketh achieved a qualifying time of 1h 50mins at a race in Chester to secure her place in the British Masters half marathon, which will also be staged in the north-west city next spring.
The mum-of-three grown up sons, from Barnard Castle, achieved the time just three days after her 60th birthday.
A keen runner in her younger days, she competed in the Great North Run in 1984, but athletics took a back seat while she was bringing up her family.
However, the chance to take part in the Great North Run in 2007 after a gap of more than 20 years rekindled her passion for the sport.
“Coe and Ovett were my idols and I had run at school, but where I lived at the time was quite a few miles from an athletics club,” she said.
“I got back into it when I ran the Great North Run in aid of the Alzheimer's Society and I have never looked back. I love it.
“I hated the training initially, but have really found the love for it since and I have done 18 half marathons and six full marathons.”
When living in North Tyneside, Ms Hesketh was part of the North Shields Poly club, which she said was an extremely competitive environment, and after moving to Barney she joined Teesdale AC.
Ms Hesketh said she had the qualifying time of 1h 54mins in mind while training for the Chester half marathon.
“I knew what time I had to do, but kept it quiet.
“I did 1h50mins and that’s way outside my personal best of 1h 39mins, which I set five years ago in Reading.
“I am chuffed to bits and just delighted to be running. I hope this won’t be my only England vest,” she said.
Four members of Teesdale AC – Leslie Chapman, Barbara Crawley, Jane Gill and Amanda Pettitt – took part in the first “live” London marathon since the onset of the pandemic.
Covid protocols required athletes to start in waves, meaning that runners commenced their journey from Blackheath to the Mall at different times.
First off the line for Teesdale AC were Leslie and Jane, followed by Barbara and Amanda.
This proved to be a joyous and enthusiastically supported event with crowds lining the route cheering participants on through changeable weather conditions which almost saw four seasons in one day.
The London Marathon continues to prove a huge draw for runners from all over the world.
It also provides an invaluable opportunity for charities to raise funds for the work they undertake. Amanda, for example, ran for Muscular Dystrophy UK and is delighted to have raised over £3,500. Sadly, one Teesdale AC runner, Caroline Hamilton, was unable to take part having to pull out due to a late injury.
NYSD Cross Country
SIX Teesdale AC athletes lined up for the first NYSD cross country races of the new season at Acklam School, in Middlesbrough.
In the senior ladies, first back for Teesdale in 107th place was Eleanor Buck in a time of 33.58mins, closely followed by Judith Rodwell, 119th in 35.45. Two places behind Judith came Tricia Childs in 36.35 with Alison Mounter in 132nd place in 39.36.
For Eleanor, Tricia and Alison, this was their first ever cross-country race which they all completed superbly.
It was starting to rain for the start of the senior men's race and Dave Raymond and Mike Jarman came in two seconds apart at the finish. Dave was first back in 104th place in 48.52 followed by Mike in 105th in 48.54.
All the runners thoroughly enjoyed their day and look forward to the next cross-country meeting.