Taylor Wraps up Club Celebrations to Mark his Christmas Presence!
Saturday saw the final competition before Christmas for the runners of Harborough AC, with the annual Club Handicap extravaganza. With races for both junior and senior members, the event marks the culmination of the calendar year, and doubles as a Christmas celebration, as well as seeing the draw for Club places at the following year’s London Marathon.
The 2011 edition was no different, with over 20 adults – and a similar number of juniors – taking part; undaunted by the frosty conditions. First off was the one-lap Under 11 race. Contested over a 900m grass route, it was Lizzie Clapp who emulated the achievement of past years from her elder sibling – Martha – in being first across the finish line. The second junior race – for those between 11 and 16 years, over two laps of the earlier course – was dominated by Sam Edwards, who capped his excellent season with yet another victory, and capitalised well on his Junior Boys win in the Leicestershire Schools Cross Country race of the previous weekend.
From there, it was over to the seniors, and the designated 2.95 mile traditional road route. Based largely around the town’s southern estate area, the race is run as a handicap, based on predicted times. Top of the tree this year was returning university student Matt Taylor, bettering his seventh-placed finish of twelve months ago. Another returnee of note was Jill Postlethwaite, who took bragging rights amongst the female contingent to mark her rejoining the Club after a five year hiatus.
Having endured the winter climate, the merry band then took to enjoying the warmth of minced pies and mulled wine for the presentation of the Fred Leach Memorial Trophy, with Christmas presents being dished out to all. An extra-special festive treat was, however, in store for three of the HAC number. The names of Paul and Megan Booler, and Dean Rushby were drawn to represent the yellow and black in the 2012 Virgin London Marathon – ensuring that at least a few of the Club’s athletes will not be feasting too heavily this festive season!
Seven days earlier, twins Niamh and Mollie Watson competed in the Kettering Charity Cup Cross Country, taking 13th and 16th spots respectively in the Under 13 Girls race. While both Martha Clapp and Emily Taylor secured top-six finishes in their relative age groups in the latest race of the Leicestershire Schools XC Series, at John Ferneley College.