League Leading Performances from Club Vets
As the National Cross Country scene heads towards its denouement, this past weekend saw the culmination of the North Midlands League – in the form of race number four, at Wollaton Park, Nottingham. Wollaton Hall – looming large over the parkland course – was built in the same year as the arrival of the Spanish Armada. And, resembling an assault en masse, the yellow singlet of Harborough AC certainly imposed itself on race day some four-and-a-quarter centuries later!
Leading the way, a ten-strong wave of Under-11s gave an indication of the strength-in-depth of presence; the team of Harvey and Rohan Finch (15th, and 42nd), George Lowe (18th), Luke and Thomas Ainsworth (19th, and 50th), Lizzie Clapp (26th), Jamie Davis (34th), Hannah Smith (36th), Toby Fletcher (47th), and Ella Worthey (53rd) giving third place on the day, and securing fourth spot overall for the Series.
In the Under-13 Girls’ category, Ursula Clapp (31st), Lauren Evans (35th), and Hannah Stewart (36th) garnered 11th in the team ranks, while Charlie Blencowe remained the sole representative in the Under-15 Boys’ race, taking 28th. Another third place return came courtesy of the efforts of Niamh and Mollie Watson (fifth and seventh, respectively) and Alice Tansey (15th) – both on the day, and for the Series overall.
In the Senior Men’s race, Andy Robinson’s 32nd spot confirmed his recent return from injury issues, while Martin Hughes noted himself as the Club’s only Senior Male to complete all four races, with 193rd this time around. However, pride of place must be reserved for the Veteran Women. Taking a six-strong side to Nottingham (amid well-over 100 others), and with the League’s top spot to defend, the pressure was met head-on! Hannah Eveleigh, once again, led the charge – winning the FV40 race (both on the day, and in terms of the Series category overall. Karen Brooks did likewise in the FV50 bracket, with Jacquie Hanmer’s FV45 third position separating those two. Ably supported by Nicola James (63rd on the day, and third overall in the FV40 Series), Sarah Blencowe (76th, and Series’ third FV35), and Marise Taylor (91st), the squad secured victory in the League campaign by over 100 points!
Clearly delighted, Club Chairman – Will Clapp – enthused: “We talk a lot about the prospects for the future of the Club, with all the juniors coming through. But, the results of this North Mids season show how there is still plenty of ‘youth’ right through – and plenty of legs left throughout the age ranks! I’m really pleased with our overall showing.”
Elsewhere on the XC Series front, the duo of Ady and Jackie King travelled to Grace Dieu and, in agreeable weather conditions – albeit muddy underfoot – took 53rd and 99th positions in their respective classifications, to retain strong standings with one race to come.
Over the 5km route of the Corby Parkrun, there were podium berths for Tom War and Adam Eales – as they took first and third place, respectively (in times of 19:54, and 20:06). Also breaching the top-ten, Dave Waddington crossed the line eighth (21:40), while Claire Eales continued her evident progression and consistency, with 75th (in 33:16).
Also showing clear indication of a season coming together was Chris Rodrigo. At the second of the Loughborough Open Indoor Track & Field meetings, a 60m clocking of 7,40s represented an improvement on his season performances to date, as well as being just a shade of his lifetime best – auguring well for the forthcoming outdoor campaign.