Nearly 500 runners descended on a country park in County Durham for a popular annual relay race this week.

Organised by Sedgefield Harriers, the Neptune Relays took place in Hardwick Park on Wednesday 25 April, with 119 teams of four from throughout the North East competing for trophies and the traditional prizes of fruit.  Before the main relays started, young runners aged 5-11 tackled a handicap race on part of the course.

The senior men’s event was won by Durham City Harriers for the third year in a row, ahead of Middlesbrough & Cleveland and Durham City Harriers B team.  Aycliffe Running Club claimed first place in the women’s race, with Crook AC in second and Durham City Harriers third. Billingham Marsh House Harriers won their third successive men’s veteran 50 race and Elvet Striders were victorious in the women’s veteran 45 category.  Durham City Harriers won the junior boys title and Birtley AC won the junior girls race. The non-club category saw a win for ‘Coxhoe Striders’.

Sedgefield Harriers launched the Neptune Relays in 2008 and the first race was contested by 13 teams.  The event is now well-established on the North East athletics calendar and attracts teams from all over the region.  Runners of all ages and abilities are welcomed to an event that has become a popular mid-week fixture, which also offers excellent vantage points for spectators, especially in the start and finish area in ‘temple field’.

Event director Ean Parsons comments:

“It’s amazing to consider how well-established the Neptune Relays are today.  That’s down to a lot of hard work by a lot of people, but primarily thanks to the event capturing the imagination of runners in the region, who support it in such good numbers.  As ever, there was some very strong competition at the sharp end of the field, but above all, our relays offer an opportunity for all runners to participate in a race in a beautiful venue, and which is welcoming and suitable for every ability.  

“We are extremely fortunate to be able to host the Neptune Relays in such a stunning location and are grateful to Hardwick Park for that, and to the army of volunteers from Sedgefield Harriers and the wider North East running community for making this event such a success.”

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