A group of 22 visitors from Sedgefield has returned to the North East after a third visit to a twin town in Germany.  For the third successive year, members of Sedgefield Harriers travelled to Hamminkeln to take part in the town’s annual Citylauf running event and spend time with host families.  This year marked the 40th Hamminkeln Citylauf and Harriers aged from six to 60 ran in 400m, 5k and 10k races, achieving personal bests and winning some age category prizes.

Sedgefield and Hamminkeln have been twin towns since 1982 and each year a group from one of the communities visits the other.  In 2016, Sedgefield Harriers organised an additional visit in partnership with the office of the bürgermeister (mayor) of Hamminkeln, Bernd Romanski, and the organisers of the Hamminkeln Citylauf events.  The trip was a success and was repeated in 2017, after which a group from Germany made a return visit to County Durham to run in the Harriers’ Sedgefield Serpentine event in September.  This year, the number of Sedgefield Harriers and other family members who made the trip to Germany grew significantly, with 22 adults and children journeying to Hamminkeln.

The Hamminkeln Citylauf races took place on Sunday 26 August.  There were 19 Sedgefield visitors in the fields of the various races and they performed well, with great support from town residents who were lining the route.  Before the start of the 10k race, the whole field of runners sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Sedgefield Harrier Tom Hearmon, who turned 17 on the day.  In the 5k race, 15-year-old junior Ciaran Lines was the first from Sedgefield to cross the line (finishing as second under 18 and 11th overall in the race), followed by another young runner, Nick Dexter, and then senior Harrier Amanda Hetherington.  In the 10k, first from Sedgefield to finish was Chris Lines (19th overall), followed by Mark Raine and Gary Hetherington (who was second in his age category).  Christine Hearmon also won a prize, finishing third in her age category.  Six-year-old Samuel Lines finished 22nd in the children’s 400m.

Alda Hummelinck, a member of the Harriers and a town councillor in Sedgefield, helped organise the trip, and comments: “We’ve had another fantastic weekend in Hamminkeln where we were once again welcomed with great hospitality and an interesting and very sociable programme of activities, including the Humberghaus in Dingden and the Archaeological Park in Xanten.  We were also treated to drinks and pizza in the town square and the ‘Bier Meile’ on Saturday night (the night before the Citylauf!).  We all stayed with host families which, for those who had visited before, was a chance to catch up with old friends and for those new to the experience, it was a chance to make new ones.  In September, a number of Hamminkelners will come back to Sedgefield for our annual Serpentine Race so we look forward to welcoming them there again!”

Hermann Terhorst, organiser of the Hamminkeln Citylauf, adds: “We celebrated our 40th city run anniversary on Sunday with the Sedgefield Harriers.  We are very happy and a little proud that the Harriers joined us with such a strong team of 19 runners and 22 visitors.  We were very pleased to host our friends and look forward to our visit to Sedgefield in September for the Serpentine.  We will be very happy if this partnership continues to build and evolve over the coming years.”

For more information about the Sedgefield Serpentine on Sunday 16 September, and to enter the event, visit www.sedgefieldharriers.co.uk/sedgefield-serpentine.