Club Members Defy Weather, as 2014 Starts with Success!
Undoubtedly a time renowned for over-indulgence and grosses, the festive period certainly brought its fair share of gifts and baubles for those of the Harborough AC persuasion, augmented as 2014 got off to a strong start as well.
Most recently, those awards came courtesy of two County Cross Country Championships – those of Leicestershire & Rutland, and Northamptonshire. From the latter, held at Kettering’s Wicksteed Park, there was a veritable quintet of podium placings, garnered amongst the 11-strong Club representation. Top performer was George Eveleigh who, contesting the Under 11 Boys’ race, remained in contention for the win right until the final few strides, eventually having to settle for silver (running a time of 6:41). That medal, though, was then reinforced with team bronze, courtesy of Toby Fletcher’s 15th spot (8:26), and Thomas Ainsworth’s 16th (8:27). Matching the efforts of her son, Hannah Eveleigh also went home with silver and bronze medals, placing third in the Senior Women’s race (21:49) and helping her team to second place, alongside Karen Brooks (sixth, 24:03) and Yvonne Scarrott (ninth, 24:40). In the Under 15 Girls’ event, Niamh Watson was also rewarded for a fine run with third position (18:33). Hannah Smith (sixth in the Under-11 Girls’, with 7:54), Luke Ainsworth (26th, U13 Boys’, 12:58), Mollie Watson (sixth, U15 Girls’, 19:29), and Tom Ward (31st, Senior Men, 46:46) completed the turnout.
You can view the full set of photographs from the Northamptonshire AA County XC Champs here.
Over the border – amid the tough, mud-ridden, conditions of the Oadby setting – it was to Jacquie Hanmer to continue the medalled-hue, taking third place in the Masters’ Women category. There were also top-ten berths for Lottie Edwards, Scarlett Wilson, Sophie Domingo, and Alice Tansey. And Charlie Blencowe, Ursula Clapp, Steve Costall, Kevin Dinsdale, Bethany Ellis, Lauren Evans, Lin Farrow, Hannah Stewart, and Marise Taylor ensured able display of the yellow-and-black HAC vest across all but one of the age category races, in an overall contingent of 16 runners! All of which has generated 27 places in the National XC Championships, in six of the ten races on offer, towards the end of February.
Elsewhere this past weekend, Claire Eales notched up another 5km Parkrun, clocking 33:14 (156th position, from 186) at the Northampton Racecourse, while Matthew Taylor returned to his Leamington haunt with a combative seventh place (from a field of 235, in a time of 20:10). Still on the Parkrun scene, New Year’s Day saw the trio of Adam and Hannah Stewart, and Marise Taylor shaking off the festive cobwebs, to contest the Braunstone running. All three duly registered places in the top-100 (from 165 entrants), with Adam heading the group (in 85th), and Hannah (94th) and Taylor (96th) also breaking 27 minutes. At the Corby event on December 28th, Matt Driver secured himself an impressive second-placed finish.
Also just after Christmas, seven HAC members battled the 10km course of the well-fêted Huncote Hash. Famed for blowing away the Christmas excesses in something of an extreme fashion, the 2013 edition heralded a record number of runners, with 381 taking to the terrains of the Croft quarry. Matt Driver (11th, in 45:17), Ady King (25th, 47:07), and Matthew Taylor (26th, 47:08) all broke the top-100, with Martin Hughes (161st, 61:06), Sarah Blencowe (184th, 63:12), Jackie King (228th, 66:30), and Marise Taylor (298th, 72:19) concluding the day’s action.
At the 15th staging of the 10km Nice Prom'Classic, Kyle Barber joined over 6,000 others on the Promenade des Anglais for an out-and-back single-lap of a wind-swept course. Crossing the line in a time of 38:03, Barber notched 380th place, from a final finishing total of 6,225.
A few days prior to Christmas, meanwhile, the Club’s annual Xmas Handicap races witnessed a wonderful turnout of 72 runners. Deigned as a pre-Christmas celebration and social event, as much as a series of races, the 2013 running saw victories in the junior races for Thomas Ainsworth and George Lowe, before stalwart Ray Lack picked off the win in the senior’s ranks. Taking the opportunity to reflect a little, newly-installed Club Chairman, Will Clapp, commented how “2013 has been a tremendous success for the Club across so many disciplines. And the huge, consistent representation that we can now boast at so wide a range of events is remarkable for a Club of our size. Our strength lies in the will and ability of ALL our members, and we take great pride in being a Club for one and all. I can only see a very bright future, for both 2014, and beyond!”