Strong Spirit Shown in Tricky County Champs!
The past Saturday saw a considerable Harborough AC contingent take to the much trodden, mud-ridden trails of the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, at Sutton Cheney, for the 2011 Leicestershire & Rutland County Cross Country Championships. This year’s event marked the 85th anniversary of the race, and the underfoot conditions were certainly reminiscent of an historic battle scene, as the recent national thaw had wreaked havoc with the landscape. On the grounds where Richard III had infamously been immortalised by the words “a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse”, similar thoughts must have been echoing through the minds of the runners as the sticky, sapping terrain tested calves and shoes alike!
However, twenty one HAC athletes proved that the conditions would not defeat them, as the Club offered strong representation across nearly all of the day’s events. First to hit the route – and perhaps the most successful individual performer of the day – was recent Junior Female Athlete of the Year Emily Taylor, in the Under17 Women’s 5km race. Emily improved on her seventh position of 2010, taking fifth this time around. Not to be outdone, and over the slightly elongated 6km route, Jake Watson then came home eleventh in the Under17 Male equivalent, while Sam Edwards and Louis Kilworth took 12th and 17th respectively in the Under13 Boys 3km event. Bethany Ellis then marked her step up to the Under15 Girls’ category with an excellent 10th place.
Top plaudits in the overall Team events, however, must be reserved for the Under13 Girls entry, where the Harborough Squad of Niamh Watson, Mollie Watson and Martha Clapp brought home a hard fought, and well-earned bronze medal: that despite Martha completing over half the course wearing just one shoe after the other succumbed to the treacherous grounds!
In the senior ranks, there were strong runs from Karen Brooks, Sarah Ward and Lianne Brooks to register the first three HAC places in the Women’s 6km event, being ably supported by both Marise Taylor and Lin Farrow just behind them. While first across the line in the Men’s 10km version was Club Captain Will Clapp, with Adam Brooks and Matt Driver taking second and third in the inter-Club bragging rights. Martin Gore was next – showing all the resilience that has been associated with him over the years by finishing the course despite a painful muscle tear en route; followed by Dave Waddington, John Thompson, Rick Brown, and the evergreen Dave Oram.
After the day’s undoubted successes, Will was quick to praise all the Club’s representatives for their endeavours and undoubted commitment, enthusing: “it was good to see the Club represented in nearly all the races today, with some excellent performances – as ever – in somewhat testing conditions, and against the very best the County has to offer.”
Pictures found here.