ATH­LET­ICS DIARY

The Chronicle - - Insidetrack -

JOASIA ZAKRZEWSKI was cer­tainly in a hurry last week­end when she lined up in two events on both sides of the Bor­der.

The Durham City Har­rier is noted for hav­ing a heavy mileage back­ground, hav­ing com­peted for Scot­land in the 2014 marathon in Glas­gow as well as rep­re­sent­ing GB at 50k and 100k.

And while a hill race on the out­skirts of Ed­in­burgh, fol­lowed less than 24 hours later by an out­ing in the Heaton Me­mo­rial 10k, may be a huge task for some, on re­flec­tion it seems just a walk in the park com­pared to what lies ahead for the GP, who splits the year work­ing as a locum in Durham City and Dum­fries in the Scot­tish Bor­ders.

How­ever, Zakrzewski is equally at home what­ever the ter­rain but next week­end she faces an un­known chal­lenge when she con­tests a six­day in­ter­na­tional race in the Oman desert cov­er­ing a dis­tance of 250k.

De­spite be­ing slight of build, the long-dis­tance cru­sader has no qualms that she can com­plete the course even though she will have to carry food and change of cloth­ing through­out the con­test.

Af­ter her vic­tory over a flat Town Moor ter­rain on Sun­day, Zakrzewski ex­plained that, while the Oman ul­tra chal­lenge is some­thing she hasn’t at­tempted be­fore, she is ea­gerly look­ing for­ward to tak­ing on the task.

“Even though I’ve com­peted in nu­mer­ous ul­tra-events in my time there’s no doubt this one will be tough and while run­ning through the sand dunes may not be too much of a prob­lem the idea of hav­ing to carry ev­ery­thing you need for six days will be a big worry,’’ said Zakrzewski “Hav­ing said that, I’m al­ways look­ing for new chal­lenges and when I was ap­proached to see if I was in­ter­ested I jumped at the chance and can’t wait to get out there next week and see how things go. “Since ac­cept­ing the in­vite I’ve read up a lot on the race which has grown into an in­ter­na­tional event at­tract­ing ul­tra ath­letes from many coun­tries so I’m not go­ing to just make the num­bers up.’’

Zakrzewski’s de­ci­sion to take in the Oman con­test means that she misses out on this com­ing week­end’s Bri­tish and Ir­ish Masters Cross-Coun­try In­ter­na­tional which is be­ing held in North­ern Ire­land.

Zakrzewski was named in the Scot­tish squad af­ter win­ning the tri­als but her diary shows she will be many miles away when her team­mates take to the coun­try in Lon­don­derry.

“It’s a shame I have to miss the Masters’ cross-coun­try for I’ve ran it three times and it’s a great, en­joy­able event,’’ added Zakrzewski, who de­fended her North East Masters Cross-Coun­try ti­tle in Wallsend ear­lier in the year.

“I have friends com­pet­ing for both Scot­land and Eng­land and wish them well and will be check­ing on the re­sults, if I can, while I am away.’’ IT’S taken 10 years for Peter New­ton to win Heaton Har­ri­ers’ Me­mo­rial 10k Road Race for a sec­ond time.

On the first oc­ca­sion in 2007, as a mem­ber of the city-based Clare­mont club, New­ton had to pull out all the stops to see off the chal­lenge of Ryan Stephen­son (North Shields Poly) in record­ing a win­ning time of 33min 17secs.

Since that Novem­ber day both ath­letes then moved on to link up with the pow­er­ful Mor­peth club.

New­ton, es­pe­cially, posted ex­cel­lent re­sults not just on the roads but on the track – 29:54.3 when win­ning the North East Coun­ties 10,000m cham­pi­onship last year – and over the coun­try.

How­ever, it has taken nu­mer­ous at­tempts over the past decade to re­peat his Heaton suc­cess – un­til last week­end that is.

His vic­tory this time round in 31:09 was just as sweet, if not more so, than it was 10 years ago for he felt the hoodoo had been bro­ken at last.

“I re­mem­ber win­ning way back in 2007 and it was windy that day just as it is today,’’ said New­ton be­fore re­ceiv­ing his award.

“I’ve ran the race a num­ber of times since then but the likes of Jonny (Tay­lor) al­ways man­aged to come out on top.

“Since win­ning the race 10 years ago I’ve al­ways wanted to come back and try to win it again, and this year I’ve man­aged to do that.

“While my time is noth­ing special [New­ton has a 10k road best of 30:22 which he posted in Traf­ford in March] I’m quite pleased to get out there and race, for it was my first com­pet­i­tive out­ing in some time.’’

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