North East club Sedgefield Harriers returned to Germany in August for a a short stay and to take part in the Citylauf Hamminkeln events. Sedgefield in Durham is twinned with Hamminkeln in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Harriers have built on existing relationships to create a bond with local sports club Hamminkelner SV.
It is the second visit by the club in two years and saw a party of 10 adults and youngsters run in Hamminkeln's 10k and 5k races. During the trip, the Harriers stayed with host families in Hamminkeln and spent time with the town’s mayor. They also finalised plans for a return visit by runners from Germany for the Sedgefield Serpentine race on Sunday 17 September.
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 mayor of Hamminkeln and the organisers of the Citylauf Hamminkeln events. The event was a success and a bigger group decided to make the trip again in 2017.
The Citylauf Hamminkeln races took place on Sunday 27 August, in hot and sunny conditions. The 10 Sedgefield Harriers in the field of 1,600 runners performed well, with great support from town residents who were lining the route. In the 5k race, junior Ciaran Lines was the first from Sedgefield to cross the line, followed by three more young runners – Nick Dexter, Kate Wallace and Laura Wallace. Susan Wallace and Harriers chair Phil Houghton also ran in the 5K.
In the 10k, first to finish was Chris Lines, followed by Gary Hetherington (who was second in the veteran 55 category), and then Jonathan Wallace and Alda Hummelinck.
Following the trip, the runners from Sedgefield spent time with their host families, exploring Hamminkeln and the surrounding area. In September, 16 members of the German town’s sports club, Hamminkelner SV, will visit Sedgefield. They will stay in Durham House in the centre of the town and take part in the Sedgefield parkrun on 16 September, and the Harriers’ annual Sedgefield Serpentine race on the following day.
Alda Hummelinck, a member of the Harriers and a town councillor in Sedgefield who helped organise both trips, commented: “It was lovely to see everybody again and to be able to build on our growing friendships. Hamminkeln put on a great event – it was very well organised, the weather was beautiful and there were some very good performances by the Harriers. We hope to return to Hamminkeln again next year for the town’s 40th Citylauf.
You can enter the Sedgefield Serpentine at the event website.