Having a Blast in the Capital!
A little over 400 years ago – in 1605 – Robert Catesby, Guy Fawkes and their 11 co-conspirators allegedly watched the unravelling of their infamous Gunpowder Plot from the summit of Parliament Hill in North London. For that particular band of 13, fortune was not in their favour. However, the fickle finger of fate was certainly far more on the side of an equal number of Harborough AC runners, who traversed the landscape under the banner of those competing in this year’s English National Cross Country Championships.
The site itself has become known as the home of English Cross Country, and those representing the Club evidently made themselves feel as such, with a string of impressive, diligent running displays. Most prominent among the yellow and black cohorts were the trio of Sam Edwards, Hannah Eveleigh and Sean Fenwick; who all registered finishing spots well inside the top 20 per cent of their respective categories. Over the 4km of the Under15 Boys’ event, Sam crossed the line in a very creditable 35th place (in 16:00), just 62 seconds off the winner, and as the second Leicestershire runner, from a field of nigh-on 400 entrants. And all in his first year at that age group. Over double that distance, in the Senior women’s equivalent, Hannah placed 126th from some 650 (in 33:08), in a race where the top-10 have all represented GB at some stage in their athletic careers – marking exalted company indeed! Sean, meanwhile, racing in the 125th running of the Senior Men’s race (over the distance of 12km), stopped the clock at 42:21, for a finishing berth of 252nd, from 1,688 athletes.
In the Under13 Girls’, twins Niamh (in a time of 14:15) and Mollie Watson (14:51), and Charlotte Edwards (15:23) all took positions inside the top-300 for the 3km course. Charlie Blencowe recorded a time of 15:28 for 361st in the corresponding Boys’ race, while Martha Clapp maintained her fine form with 127th in the Under15 Girls’ 4km (with 16:27). In his first year in the Junior Men age bracket, Jake Watson covered the 10km course in a swift 37:15, taking 111th in the process. Ably supporting Hannah in the Senior Women’s ranks, Marise Taylor continued her winter-conditioning with a combative 607th-placed finish (48:55). Will Clapp (604th, in 46:43), Jason Pitcher (655th, 47:18) and Chris Webb (1185th, 53:52) rounded off the Club entrants, on what proved to be a very enjoyable day in the pleasant bask of the early-spring sun. Reflecting on the campaign as a whole, Cross Country Captain, Will Clapp offered: “For a relatively small Club, the calibre of performance on show throughout the season has been consistently high. And today has simply underlined that! A note should also be made for Bethany Ellis and Michael Burke, who had their races curtailed today, and weren’t able to complete the course. Nonetheless, both acquitted themselves strongly, and typified the togetherness and spirit we have.”
The previous weekend, six HAC members made the short trip to Manor Farm, Ullesthorpe for the final instalment of the 2011-12 Derby Runner League XC Series. Jake Watson again showed himself to be well-heeled amongst the Senior Men’s group, being first to reach the finish line for the Club – in a splendid tenth spot overall, and second in the Under20 Men – with a time of 34:13. Michael Burke was next back, in 31st spot (37:06), with Shane Edge (87th, 41:37, and fourth Vet50), Richard Bufton (118th, 43:55) and Nick Johnston (149th, 46:27) concluded the male runners. Jo Johnston was the sole female competitor on this occasion for HAC, and she secured 60th position, stopping the clock in 54:02. Overall, that half dozen performances helped yield a Series’ league placing of eighth for the Club, in Division 2.
Eschewing the country – in every respect – Rachael Hardman took to the fine climate of Southern Spain; as she competed in the XXVIII Maratón Ciudad de Sevilla. Rachael is endeavouring to run a marathon-a-month through 2012, and backed up her first outing (in Gloucester) with a strong run for 3560th place, in 4:14:59 – taking over a minute off her previous time in the process.
Elsewhere, track duo Roy Barber and Chris Holliday once again took to the boards, racing on the blue tundra carpeting the NIA. Over the 60m, Roy won his race in a new PB time of 7.51s, while Chris clocked 8.68s. Then, over the banked, full-lap of 200m, Chris recorded 27.26s, and Roy 23.84s.
From there, it was back to the roads and to the third in the winter Leicester road Running League, in the form of the Ashby ‘5’. Over the relatively flat, fast course, a further twelve Club members donned their racing flats; being led home by the returning Andy Robinson. He was chased all the way by Ady King, with Adam Brooks ensuring a ‘triple-A’ rating! Richard Bufton, Chris Loake, and the evergreen pair of Pete Leach and Dave Oram concluded the male participants. The female ranks were led by Yvonne Scarrott, with Karen Brooks, Hazel Buswell, Jackie King and Lin Farrow all relishing the unseasonably pleasant, warm conditions to engineer excellent finishing places amongst a noticeably large contingent.