YOUNG runners from the district battled wind and rain on their way to enjoy success at the Birtley Harriers’ Cross Country Relays.

Five pupils from Ponteland Middle School represented Elswick Harriers in various age categories, with the U11 and U13 girls winning gold, and another U11 team running well in the mixed pack of boys and girls.

The U13 girls team produced a commanding performance. On first leg, Poppy Old was well placed in the pack handing over to Caitlin Flanagan in fourth place.

Caitlin dug in deep to hand over to Zara Naughton in third place, and the latter ran an impressive final leg, closing a 40s gap to take the lead with 800 metres to go. Zara pulled away from the field to give the Elswick girls the win.

The U11 team was led off by Zara’s sister, Charlotte Naughton, followed by Louisa Hamilton and finally Poppy Wylde. Charlotte ran superbly in the mixed pack of boys and girls to hand over to Louisa in second place. The latter very quickly took the initiative, giving Poppy a comfortable lead on the final leg.

The two teams showed great teamwork and determination to earn the plaudits they received.

l Tynedale Harriers Nathaniel Henderson and Charlie Daley both excelled at the British Athletics Inter Counties Cross Country, at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough.

Nathaniel was 108th out of a 300-strong field in the U13 boys category, while Charlie took on a field of 313 in the U15 boys, and impressed with a top-40 finish, securing 37th place. Other highlights during his eye-catching year so far include 13th place out of 201 runners at the North of England Cross Country Championships.