Despite the usual excesses of the festive season, and a dearth of races relative to the more regular week-in, week-out fare, the past few weeks have still witnessed a number of Harborough AC’s finest plying their trades, concluding with a very promising start to 2015, in the guise of the Northamptonshire and Leicestershire County Cross Country Championships.
The former of those, at Wellingborough’s Croyland Park, had just four HAC athletes competing, but the entire quartet rendered top-ten finishing positions. In the Under-11 Boys race, Noah Smith picked off tenth, with elder sister, Hannah, taking eighth in the Under-13 Girls’. In the boys at that age, George Eveleigh secured ninth, before mum – Hannah – placed an excellent fifth in the senior women’s ranks.
In Leicestershire – at the Cosby Foxlands Farm setting – a further eighteen sported the yellow and black vest, collectively bringing back two team, and one individual medal. Over the 3km of the Under-13 Boys race, the quartet of George Lowe, Harvey Finch, Tyler Chapman, and Will Parry took a highly commendable bronze medal, placing ninth, 11th, 13th, and 14th, respectively. Over 1km farther, their Under-15 female counterparts notched a combined silver medal. Fourth, eighth, ninth, and 12th for Lottie Edwards, Niamh and Mollie Watson, and Sophie Domingo, respectively, garnering second place in a tight team battle. However, chief amongst the day’s performances was that of Martha Clapp. In a tough, competitive Under-17 Women’s 5km, a clocking of 23:09 gave her a hard-earned individual bronze medal, widely heralded by the Club as the most impressive run of the day. Elsewhere, there were fourth-placed returns for the Masters Men (led by a very strong individual fourth from Sean Fenwick), and the Under-13 Girls’ squads.
Reflecting on the collective, Club Chairman – Will Clapp – enthused: “Today was a great effort, all-round, from all our runners, in challenging conditions. We have a number of athletes in contention now for County representation at the Regional Championships, which just shows again how competitive and combative we are. An excellent start to the year!”
Earlier on during the Christmas period, the trio of Matt Driver, Adam Brooks, and Martin Hughes elected to try and blow away any Noël-based cobwebs by tackling the 10km of the 2014 Huncote Hash. Defined as a Cross Country – though reputed as far more than that; with mud rifts, demanding hills, and freezing cold water crossings – the ‘Hash’ has an ever-growing reputation, and the 2014 edition boasted over 350 entrants. Driver was first to cross the finish line from the Club’s contingent, notching 22nd in a time of 46:45. He was chased home by Brooks (47:51 giving him 29th spot), with Hughes rounding things off with a place in the top-150, and a time inside the one-hour mark..
Claire Eales, meanwhile, stuck to the roads – in the form of the Ely ‘New Year’s Eve 10k’. Over notably more trustworthy underfoot terrain than for the various Cross Country events, a clocking of 65:02 gave her 550th place, in a field of around 600.
Other festive highlights saw Adam Brooks finishing sixth at the Corby Christmas Day Parkrun, before Adam Eales went one place better at the same venue two days later (before then placing sixth this past weekend). Yvonne Scarrott then raced her quickest 5km Parkrun in over four months – at Northampton’s racecourse locale – taking second place in the female ranks, with 21:09.