Despite the current weather conditions suggesting otherwise, the running calendar is well into the winter campaign. And the past weekend saw two dozen Harborough AC competitors taking to the Cross Country trails of West Glebe Park, Corby for the second race in the 2011-12 North Midlands XC League. With age–group races catering for everyone from the Under 11 bracket upwards – over distances from 2km to 8.9km – the Club certainly ensured that representation levels were high!
Alongside several battle-hardened, more experienced Club Members, there were Cross Country debuts for a new trio, as Lauren Evans (Under 11s, 32nd in a time of 9:55), Alice Tansey (U13 Girls, 27th in 13:20), and Nick Mullinger (Senior Men, 148th in 42:34) all made their respective bow with good showings. Alongside Alice, twins Niamh (11:44) and Mollie Watson (12:09) garnered a 5th-place finish for the Under 13 Girls team, courtesy of seventh and 11th place finishes over the 3km route. That team spot was mirrored by their Under 15 counterparts, with just one second separating Bethany Ellis (11:16) and Martha Clapp (11:17), as they took ninth and tenth.
In the senior ranks, a total field of 85 runners took the start line for the Women’s race, and a further 165 for the Men’s. In the former of those – contested over a course of around 5.6km – chief plaudits went to the returning Jill Postlethwaite, as she crossed the line in 18th, and second in the FV45 category, with 22:56. Just under two minutes back, Karen Brooks (24:54) echoed that runner-up berth (in the FV50 bracket) with 39th. Lianne Brooks took 71st (in 28:00), while Marise Taylor came home in 82nd (31:47), to secure ninth place for the team (who lie one place higher for the Series overall). Their male clubmates currently lie in 11th place amid the team rankings – and fourth in the Veteran male equivalent – through a 14th placing here (and fifth for the Vets). Within that squad, it was youngster Jake Watson who took top spot among the HAC contingent, placing 36th (in a time of 32:56), and fifth in the Under 20 age group. He was chased all the way by Will Clapp (33:25, and fifth in the MV40s) and Martin Gore (33:44) – in 44th and 47th. Adam Brooks (35:24) was 68th, with Michael Burke (37:14) 86th, Shane Edge (38:03) 101st, and Graeme Rolfe (39:36) also breaking the 40-minute mark for 118th. Dick Callan (40:28) was 125th, with Martin Hughes (41:03) 133rd, Cor Derks (41:17) 135th, Kenny Anderson (43:21) 153rd, Dave Ward (44:00) 156th, and Dave Oram (54:49) in 165th.
One week earlier, the unmistakable yellow vests were also out in force; this time back on the National stage, at the English XC Relay Championships. And, once again, ensured those colours met with due distinction across the board! In the Under 13 Girls race, the triumvirate of Ciara Buckley, and Mollie and Niamh Watson finished in 69th spot, while the Junior Women (Emily Taylor, Megan Booler, and Sarah Ward) achieved a highly-commendable top-20 finish, with 19th place. The Junior Men (Jake Watson, and Dan and Matt Taylor) then followed with 54th place. Boasting three full teams in the Senior Women’s 3x3km event generated positions of 54th (for the squad of Hannah Eveleigh, Debbie Napier, and Yvonne Scarrott), 99th (for Lin Farrow, and Karen and Lianne Brooks), and 102nd (for Nicola James, Jackie King, and Marise Taylor). The Senior Men – run as 4 legs over a 5km course – had two complete teams, and one incomplete. First back, and just outside the top-100, were the quartet of Martin Gore, Adam Brooks, Mark Cherry, and Will Clapp, in 103rd. A little farther back, Chris Webb, Michael Burke, Cor Derks, and Graeme Rolfe picked up 144th. Martin Hughes, Dave Ward, and Pete Leach concluded the Harbororian representation in a day that saw upwards of 20 team GB vest owners plying their trade!
Ploughing more of a lone furrow that same weekend was Matt Driver, in the Flying Fox ‘10’ in Standon. From a startlist of 249, Matt took 12th position, in an excellent clocking of 61:10.