ATHLETES braved the snow to race at the North East Cross-country championships despite some of the toughest conditions seen in years.

The 110th annual championships, which were hosted by Sedgefield Harriers for the first time, took place at Hardwick Hall Park, near Sedgefield in County Durham, on Saturday, December 12.

The event saw its largest entry since 1993 with 1,453 runners and had its highest ever number of total finishers, including a record-breaking 410 in the men's event.

Organiser Chris Lines said: “Most people I’ve spoken to have said it’s a great course. It’s really nice to run, there are some undulations but some bits where you can really stretch your legs.

“It’s proper cross-country weather. The amount of snow was not what we expected or what was forecast but it added an extra dimension to the event. I think when people look back it will stick in their minds and I think in a positive way.”

Archie Jenkins, secretary of the North Eastern Counties Athletic Association [NECAA], said: “It’s been a wonderful championships and Sedgefield have done a marvellous job with organising it.”

Among those presented prizes were Syd Robson, Richard Balding and Joe Hawes who all ran at the championships held in Sedgefield in 1955.

Phil Houghton, chair of Sedgefield Harriers, said: “It was a momentous day in our club’s history. Sedgefield Harriers was founded 10 years ago and this was a fitting finale to our birthday celebrations. We can’t thank all of the volunteers enough – from the club and its friends, the NECAA and 1st Sedgefield Scout Group.

“We were very grateful to the NECAA for giving us the opportunity to host the championships - I think we did this great event justice. Finally, well done to every single runner who took part in what were hugely challenging conditions. You were all amazing.”