Performance by Numbers Paints Diverse Club Picture
One weekend; two days; six events; 21 athletes; 48 hours: a series of numbers that underline the truly multi-faceted nature of Harborough AC.
First up, on Saturday, the focus was on the more consistent and predictable conditions offered by Indoor track & field competition, with Club members competing at the two UK Athletics High Performance centres of Loughborough and Lee Valley. At the former, it was Roy Barber – HAC’s 2010 track performer of the year – who began his season in ominous fashion, clocking revised Personal Best times of 7.69s then 7.62s for 60m, despite only recently returning from a winter’s training that has been stilted and blighted by injury. Meanwhile, some 100 miles south east, in the nation’s capital, Karen Brooks and Rick Brown were making their collective Indoor track debut at the 2011 British Masters’ national championships, in the 1500m. However, notwithstanding their relative inexperience in both the setting and standard of competition, the duo acquitted themselves excellently, placing fourth (FV50) and ninth (MV55) respectively, in times of 5:26.97 and 5:26.91.
Come Sunday, and Brooks and Brown were involved again, this time over the somewhat further distance of 10km – at the fourth of the 2011 Leicestershire Road Running League Series, held at Desford. Showing no ill-effects of the previous day’s exertions, Karen took 19th in the women’s race, while Rick placed 199th in the men’s. On this occasion, however, they were not alone in their club representation, with a further nine members plying their wares. Chief amongst this contingent was Andy Robinson, who marked his competitive comeback after over five months on the sidelines with injury with a storming 14th place overall, in a time of 34:46. Also cracking the top 100, and on a week’s sojourn from university, was Matt Driver (57th in the men’s race). They were followed home by Martin Hughes (184th) and the erstwhile figure of Pete Leach (267th). In the women’s field for the testing, undulating course, there were top 100 finishes for all the Club’s entrants; with Ruth Bingham (64th), Jenny Brighton (80th), Lianne Brooks (83rd), Jo Johnston (86th), and Lin Farrow (99th) all donning club colours.
Also resplendent in their yellow vestige were the trio of Ady and Jackie King, and Dave Oram – who all ably completed the rearranged Nene Valley 10 mile race, in Bretton, Peterborough. While it was the extreme winter conditions that had put paid to the original attempt at the race, the early inclemency of early spring failed to deter a large field, and strong runs from all three Harborough runners validated their decision to press on with taking part, with Ady clocking 63 minutes, Jackie 88 minutes, and the ever-combative Dave: 93 minutes.
Elsewhere, in the final race in the Wellingborough multi-terrain 5km, 10km, 15km series, Peter Oliver covered the 5km route in 30:38, for 65th place on the day (from 91), and 200th for the Series as a whole.
Finally, it was to youth that attention turned, as five of the Club’s Junior contingent took part in the East Midland Trials for the 2011 London Marathon. The event saw youngsters over a variety of age ranges vying to be selected to represent the region over the final 2.1 miles of the Marathon route, come the big day on April 17th. Best placed from the fleet-footed five was Jake Watson, who took seventh place in the boys’ 15-17 category, and was chosen as reserve for the final East Midlands squad. Aiming to match their elder brother’s endeavours, Niamh and Mollie Watson crossed the line 24th and 26th respectively in the girls’ 11-12 years group. Livvy Tansey continued her excellent progress with a strong run in the girls’ 13-14 ranks, while Louis Killworth displayed quintessential perseverance in a tough field for the boys’ 11-12 equivalent.
All-in-all, a very promising weekend was well-received, and augers very well for the rest of 2011, come road, track, cross country, or a mixture of any of the above! Club Chairman Martin Hughes was similarly enthused, beaming “the diverse potential and adaptability on show this weekend shows just what robust health the club is truly in, and the return to action of several athletes has simply reinforced an already well-founded 2011 season!”