The Midland Cross-Country took place at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough in what was for most of the afternoon fairly benign conditions – at least that is until the second half of the final race when the Senior Men were faced with torrential rain. The individual highlight of the afternoon was Hugh SADLER’s Silver medal.
Earlier on in fresh dry conditions the Under-13 Boy’s had got the club off to a great start – see Ali Hurford’s separate report. The Under-13 girls were led home by Danni SINCLAIR in thirty-fifth place in 14:58 followed by Grace CLARIDGE (eightieth in 16:43) and Isabella PARKE (ninety-third in 17:37).
Fred HAWKER was the first cub finisher in the Under-15 Boy’s race finishing forty-second in 14:45, Luke ILES followed closely behind in forty-sixth in 14:54 and Flynn BAKER our third scorer in sixty-third position in 15:34. Robert KIEKUTH was next home in sixty-seventh place in 15:41 followed by James CASLING in seventy-seventh place in 16:20. There were 89 finishers.
The Under-15 girls were led home by Caiomhe FULLERTON in forty-eighth place in 17:16, Molly ORCHARD (fifty-eighth in 17:37), Elle RADFORD (sixty-fifth in 17:45), Josie DAVIS (seventy-fifth in 18:20) and Niamh FULLERTON (eighty-fifth in 19:05). There were ninety-six finishers.
In the Under-17 Men Hugh SADLER took an early lead but was pegged back by Joe POLLARD of Charnwood but stuck to his task well to take the silver medal just six seconds behind the winner in 18:33 to the winner’s 18:27 and seventeen seconds clear of the Bronze medalist. Hugh is rounding into great form just at the right time of the winter.
In the Senior Women’s race Fiona MARKS led out our five athletes and eventually finished eighteenth in 36:08. This was only Fiona’s third cross-country and will have added massively to her learning experiences. The time would indicate that the course was somewhat longer than the advertised 8 kilometres. Behind her Julia BELYAVIN showed her strength as she moved through the field as the race unfolded finishing twenty-third in 36:42. Polly AINSLEY was next scorer finishing in thirty-first place in 37:38 holding on to her place in a sprint finish with a runner from Tipton Harriers. Florence EMOND finished thirty-sixth in 38:00 and we look forward to seeing her at training more often now her placement in Taunton has finished. Alexa PARKER, who is now based in London made the trip down to Bristol on Friday night and travelled up with the team finishing in fifty-fourth place in 39:54. The Team finished fourth overall.
In the Senior Men’s race there was consternation at the finish when no one had appeared after 45 minutes the eventual Winner, Alex Brecker of City of Stoke AC clocking 49:02 and the course length has been revised from 12 to 14.4 kilometres on the results (no-one is quite sure whether the field ran one lap too many or the course measurer underestimated the length of each lap! Jarlath MCKENNA produced a storming run laying off a group of a dozen in the first mile before working his way through steadily on the first long lap. After 3 miles he was clear in fifth place and that’s where he finished in 50:25, exactly 30 seconds clear of the sixth placer. This was a big step forward having finished seventeenth in the equivalent race last year – this year’s race was certainly no easier. There seems little appetite for cross-country among many of our Senior Men who could be at the front end of the field and only four seniors chose to run. Andy SALMON showed that he continues to make steady progress to finish forty-second in 54:48. Gary STANDINGER finished seventy-ninth in 57:58 and Anthony HALL was 114th in 59:57. There were 377 finishers with the last runner taking 97:16 – it will have been well and truly dark by then and we were already heading back to Bristol.
Keith Brackstone Reports