The past weekend saw the conclusion of the 2010-2011 North Midlands Cross Country Series, and the fourth event in the equivalent Derby Runner League Series – with Harborough AC boasting representation in both events.
On Saturday, no fewer than 13 Club members journeyed to race across a variety of age ranges and distances for the finale of the North Mids Series, held on the acreage of Wollaton Park in Nottingham across routes well-famed and well-honed to use in Cross Country circles. The week’s somewhat inconsistent prevailing weather conditions had rendered some areas of the course more reminiscent of the terrain tackled elsewhere by the erstwhile Kauto Star, but such was the hardiness of the Harborough AC contingent that this was one Long Run that would not get the better of them! In the youngest age group – the mixed Under 11 race – the near-inseparable Watson twins, Niamh and Mollie, proved ever the same, with placings of 21st and 22nd respectively overall, and ninth and tenth in the Girls’ race (in 6:52 and 7:10, for the 2km course). In the Under 13 Boys’ 3.3km race, Sam Edwards continued his transition to the mud with a strong run, taking 12th position in 15:19, from a field of 22 runners. Over the 4.7km route of the Under 17 Women’s race, Emily Taylor maintained her excellent start to 2011 with a competitive ninth place finish, in 17:45.
It was then on to the Senior ranks, with a 6km route awaiting the Women, and a 10km outing for their male counterparts. The former witnessed 81 athletes take to the trails, with the Harborough runners of Marise Taylor, and Karen and Lianne Brooks very much in the mix. First over the line for the Club, and cementing her second place overall in the FV50 Overall Series standings, was Karen; in 24th place, and with a time of 25:42. Lianne was next, stopping the watch at 31:02 for 65th position, with Marise a mere touch behind – in 73rd, and with a clocking of 33:43. Their combined efforts also saw the Team classified 11th on the day, and eighth place overall for the year amongst a highly competitive field. It was then to the Senior Men, and a race of over 200 competitors. Undaunted by the blustery conditions, Will Clapp broke into the top-50, with 43rd place in 40:28. Not far adrift was Adam Brooks – 68th with 41:58. Graeme Rolfe continued his already-active season with 141st place, while Rick Brown, Martin Hughes, and Dave Oram helped secure an eighth place finish for the Veteran Men’s Team on the day, and a fourth place team classification for the Series as a whole.
21st Niamh Watson (9th Girl) 6:52
22nd Mollie Watson (10th Girl) 7:10
9th Emily Taylor 17:45
24th Karen Brooks (1st FV50) 25:42
65th Lianne Brooks 31:02
73rd Marise Taylor 33:43
12th Sam Edwards 15:19
43rd Will Clapp 40:28
68th Adam Brooks 41:58
141st Graeme Rolfe 47:19
162nd Rick Brown 49:35
173rd Martin Hughes 51:17
208th Dave Oram 65:50
Meanwhile, on Sunday, a smaller – but no less intrepid – band tackled race four in the Derby Runner XC Series, in the grounds of Grace Dieu Manor School. With underfoot conditions being notably soft and muddy, and runners having to cross two streams en route, the challenging nature of the course was clear. However, that simply seemed to embolden the merry band of hardy Harborough entrants. In the female ranks, both Jackie King and Jo Johnston acquitted themselves well, breaking the tape in 62nd and 65th positions respectively. Not to be outdone by the female Clubmates, Ady King and Shane Edge proved equally resolute in the tricky conditions, placing 25th (Ady) and 88th (Shane) in amongst some quality opposition.
In other Club news, the Committee would like to pass on huge congratulations from everyone at the Club to Nicky and Kevin James on the arrival of the already-bouncing Daisy Megan, who weighed in at a healthy 9lb 1oz: both mum and bambino are doing well!