‘Sock!’, ‘Ka-Pow!’: (Un)caped Crusaders Battle Wintery Conditions
After last week’s county-wide competitions, it was back to the league formats of both the North Mids and Derby Runner Cross Country Series’ this weekend.
Saturday had ten Harborough AC members traversing the grounds of Wollaton Park for the final instalment of the North Mids version, in the imposing shadow of the 16th Century Wollaton Hall. The Hall itself was used to represent Wayne Manor in the relaunched Batman franchise, and it was certainly a case of “Holy muddy underfoot conditions”, as the recent frosts wrought their impact. That, however, failed to daunt those sporting the yellow and black of HAC, foremost of whom was Sam Edwards – in the Under 15 Boys’ race – who took an excellent third place (with a time of 14:36). In the Senior Women’s event, it was the ever-effective stride of Karen Brooks first over the line for the Club, taking 34th spot overall, and placing second in the FV50 category (in 25:40). She was chased all the way by the trio of Nicola James (57th, in 27:46), Lianne Brooks (67th, 29:11) and Marise Taylor (78th, 32:12). That foursome secured an overall fifth position in the Series for the Women’s squad, improving on their eighth place of 2010-11.
On the Men’s side of the competition, both Will Clapp and Adam Brooks enjoyed comfortable top-100 placings (with 52nd – 39:44, and 82nd – 42:02, respectively). A little farther back were Michael Burke (122nd, 45:30), Shane Edge (135th, 46:37) and Cor Derks (146th, 47:42). Overall, the Veteran Men’s Team took seventh place in the Series.
The second day of the weekend had eight athletes heading back to school, with the penultimate meeting of the Derby Runner League Series being held at Grace Dieu, in Shepshed. With two streams, several hills and rocky terrain to contend, the course proved to be a true cross country test. But it was to the credit of the nigh-on 300 entrants that none of those obstacles proved insurmountable! In the Men’s classification, it was Ady King who was first to the finish for Harborough, and 28th overall; reinforcing his strong overall Series showing. In 122nd was Shane Edge – racing back-to-back days as part of his ongoing triathlon training. Shane was tracked all the way by the combative Nick Turner-Henke (139th) - taking a break from his arduous 18-20 mile marathon training runs of late, with Nick Johnston in 206th. Rounding off the Club’s male contingent were Richard Bufton (218th) and Jason Pitcher (236th). In the Women’s event, both Jackie King and Jo Johnston maintained their ever-present Series status, garnering 67th and 88th place returns.
Commenting on the winter running as a whole, Cross Country Captain Will Clapp said: “with the relatively mild winter we’ve had up to now, it’s been a somewhat different season to usual. But that hasn’t stopped some really positive showings from a lot of the Club’s runners, including several newcomers, who’ve all acquitted themselves superbly! As we head towards the road races and track and field, we’ve got a great platform to build on!”
Meanwhile, George Nolan had another encouraging run at the 5km Braunstone Park Run, producing an excellent display to equal his PB for the course of 21:23, coming 32nd from some 160-plus finishers.,/p>