As most of the performances inevitably come from last weekend’s National cross-country relay championships I would like to underline how difficult it has been to differentiate between the various individual efforts, but here goes!
1 TOM RUSSELL – Who else? Tom’s epic effort on the last leg for the men’s team left us all hoarse. It consummated what turned out to be our best ever performance in these championships. When he took over from Tom Merson, holding our place in the top six seemed probably the best we could hope for considering the other big names lined up both ahead and behind him, but by judging his pace and finish to perfection to snatch the bronze medal almost on the line Tom underlined the talent that surely marks him out as a future senior international over the “country”.
2 REBEKAH RANDELL – Rebekah may not have clocked our fastest leg – that honour went to Kate – but she not only ran a faster time than expected, but like Tom paced herself perfectly to lay the platform for the medal challenge that Kate and Claire turned into silver. Her time was actually 13th fastest overall, a considerable advance on her road relay ranking.
3= KATE GOODHEAD and PHIL WYLIE – These were the two engineers of our success.I found it impossible to split them. Kate has never looked better or stronger and built on Becky’s start to put us in a medal position and give Claire the breathing space that she did not have in the National road relay. It was her best ever run in this event and suggests that she too should not be far away in the big races after Christmas. So too Phil, who followed Steve’s good start by gaining some ten places to put us right in the medal hunt. His time too was only eight seconds slower than Tom, who was 9th fastest overall.
HONOURABLE MENTION – CHARLIE COFFEY only just misses out after clocking her fastest time for several years in winning the women’s event at the latest Bridge Inn 5K in 17:24.
1 NATHAN YOUNG – Nathan just gets the nod, though top spot could have gone to any of the first three named. Like Phil he did the engine room job, gaining nearly 20 places after taking over from Harry Webb to clock the 11th fastest split only ten seconds slower than Rich who followed him on the anchor leg.
2= KATIE KNOWLES and RICH PETERS – I’m fence sitting again here. Katie put our junior team in front on the second leg with the 5th fastest individual time of the day, this despite only volunteering to run for the team’s sake as she was still not completely over the chest infection that caused her withdrawal from the National road relay. Rich was one position down on Katie with the 6th fastest time in the men’s event as he closed a sizeable gap to put us in the bronze medal position only to get collared almost on the line. Arguably it was a comparable effort to Katie’s as he was some 10 seconds closer than her to the day’s best time.
3 ELEANOR WIMSHURST – Ellie is put behind the others if only because she said she could never really get into the race once she knew there was no team. However her run that put Katie within striking distance of the lead was more than respectable and only 10 seconds slower than Katie’s.
1 PHIL PARRY – Phil was disappointed with his time of 2:45 plus in the New York marathon as he had been hoping for something closer to 2:30 and perhaps one of the V45 prizes, but his race was ruined after the 20 mile mark as he had serious problems with his I-T bands that forced him to ease right down in order to reach the finish.
2 HELEN FINES – Helen will curse me for including her in the masters section again, but I blame our other vets who seem to be on a sabbatical! Anyway Helen capped a remarkable performance for our B team to make the top ten in 8th place well ahead of champions Charnwood’s second string in the cross-country relays.
3 JON GOODLAND – At least Jon keeps the ball rolling. His latest efforts were first V50 in the latest Bridge Inn 5K in the creditable time of 17:33, followed by taking the same prize in the Ilminster 10K.