Hugh SADLER was the highest placed club athlete in the National Cross-Country at a dull and overcast Wollaton Park, Nottingham on Saturday 25th February 2017. Hugh committed hard early on but was never quite in touch with the very front of the Under-17 Men’s field and came home to finish thirteenth in 21:13. Eighteen seconds would have seen him up in fifth place and such a result would have not been out of keeping with Hugh’s potential had he produced a stand out performance on the day.
In the Senior Ladies Race finishing three or four in the top twenty seemed like a distant memory as new member Natalie GRIFFITHS was first club member home in 102nd place in 33:43 and just 6 seconds off her target of making the top 100. Natalie can’t count for the club until 1st March 2017 so it was Imogen PECK who led the team home in 141st position with a time of 34:55 followed by Florence EMOND in 161st place in 35:24 and Polly AINSLEY in 175th place in 35:38. Nicola OLDROYD was our fourth scorer in 351st place in 39:32 as the team finished twenty-seventh with 828 points. All five athletes are progressing so we look forward to 2018 when we hope we can also persuade some of our ‘stars’ to compete.
Owain JONES led the Senior Men’s Team home in thirty-sixth place in 41:42 – which shows how tough the conditions were for 12 kilometres. Owain is Mr. Consistent and this was another solid performance from him. Jack MILLAR had a great run to finish fiftieth in 42:04 and will probably have been pleased to have finished just 22 seconds adrift of Owain. Shame an entry oversight meant Jarlath MCKENNA wasn’t entered as surely he too would have made the top 50 on current form. Will DAVIDSON certainly set off as though he anticipated making the top 50. He was beating himself up for a poor race afterwards but the only way to have a good race in the National is by getting stuck in early on and he will come back stronger in 2018 if he learns from Saturday’s race. He finished 289th in 46:24. One club member who did pace his race well was Maciej BIALOGONSKI who finished 211th in 45:08 and seemed to run strongly throughout.
Andy SALMON was our fifth man home in 334th position in 46:54: Andy was another who ran a solid race throughout and was certainly holding his own on the final ‘extra long’ lap. Anthony HALL who is a club regular at Regional and National Championship races finished 586th in 50:11 to close the team in for twenty-third place. Ivan USENKO finished 677th in 51:16 to ensure that the scoring six had back-up. Overall there were some good solid performances and it is a shame that more of the club’s elite seem to have opted out of cross-country over the last few seasons.
Keith Brackstone reports.