Trophy-Haul Leads Weekend Round-Up
This past weekend saw the conclusion of the four-race North Midlands Cross Country Season, to the backdrop of a windswept Wollaton Park, in Nottingham. Home to the city’s History and Industry museums – as well as a recognised National Deer Park – the locale witnessed nigh-on 600 runners traversing its grounds, across nine different races, and a variety of age-specific distances.
Amongst that number was an eighteen-strong Harborough AC contingent, aiming to round off their collective Series participation with a flourish. On the day, there were top-ten place finishes from Lizzie Clapp (ninth in the Under 13 Girls’ race); Niamh Watson (ninth, Under-15 Girls); Martha Clapp (fourth, Under-17 Women); and Hannah Eveleigh (tenth, Senior Women – and first, FV40 Women). Those combined efforts resulted in no fewer than five trophies accompanying the HAC contingent on their return journey to the town, with three individual awards, and two team prizes. Top of the pile was the first place attained by Eveleigh, in the FV40 category. That showing – ably supplemented by the efforts of Sarah Blencowe (second, in the FV40 bracket), Karen Brooks, Marise Taylor, and Jacquie Hanmer – combined to secure top spot for the Veteran Women’s Team alongside! There was also a second-place return for the Under 15 Girls squad of Niamh and Mollie Watson, Sophie Domingo, Lottie Edwards, Alice Tansey, and Ursula Clapp. In the Under-17 Women’s contest, meanwhile, Martha Clapp reaped the rewards of her fine form, to take bronze.
Casting an eye back across the Series as a whole, Club Chairman, Will Clapp, said:
Across the four races, we saw a total of 36 of the Club’s members running. Cross Country is not to everyone’s taste, and conditions this winter have not always been to everyone’s liking. But to have so many representing both the Club and the district is great; and to finish off with such a trophy haul is testament to that collective attitude and approach. I’m genuinely very proud of all those who competed!
Elsewhere, and over even tougher terrain, and testing conditions, Andrew Holt took on the ‘Winter Fan Dance’. The 24km off-road route traverses the highest peaks of the Brecon Beacons, and is used in training and assessments for both the SAS and SBS elite forces. Despite those demands, the race is ever-expanding in number, and offers a range of categories. Holt opted – for the second consecutive year – to tackle the load-bearing event, requiring contestants to carry a weighted Bergen meeting specific weight demands, and to be self-sustaining throughout. Battling a recent illness on top of all the course travails, Holt still put in an very respectable showing, to break into the top-30 (of upwards of 300 entrants), and also beat the renowned Sea Pass Time.
Further afield, and in notably more agreeable climes, Kyle Barber joined some 7,500 others over the 10km of the 2015 Nice-based ‘Prom’Classic’. Preceded by a minute’s applause following the midweek terrorist attacks, a sombre air was warmed by a pleasant winter sun, allowing Barber to take full advantage. A clocking of 34:28 represented both 144th position on the day, as well as a new Personal Best by almost two minutes.
On the weekly 5km Parkrun-scene, a further seven HAC runners competed across three locations. In Corby, Adam Eales notched second place (with 20:39), with Ray Lack, Lin Farrow, Claire Eales, and Dave Oram also lining up in an 81-strong entry. Neil Smith clocked 21:28 for 26th place (from 347) in Braunstone, while 21:31 gave Kenny Anderson 25th (from 328) over Northampton’s Racecourse setting.