Snow Joke as Runners Plough On!
This past Saturday, ten intrepid Harborough AC members covered the 200-plus mile journey to the North East of England, to compete in the 2013 English National Cross Country Championships; being held for just the second time across the terrain of Sunderland’s Herrington Country Park. The reclaimed former Durham colliery is heralded as one of the most attractive sites in the north of England. However, after the recent nationwide snowy downpours, those bestriding the various start lines may have been forgiven for wishing they’d packed their stirrups and bridles, to counter conditions which could readily be defined as ‘heavy going’. However, aping recent concerns, the HAC contingent certainly prove themselves to have plenty of beef underpinning their thoroughbred status!
First out of the gate – in the Under17 Women’s 5km – was Bethany Ellis, who clocked a commendable 21:51, to take 77th position, in a field twice that number. Next up were the trio of Niamh and Mollie Watson, and Charlotte Edwards in the Under13 Girls’ 3km event. Amongst some 260 others, all three acquitted themselves superbly, drawing special commendation from Club Captain, Will Clapp, for their collective fortitude. Finishing within just 20 seconds of another, it was Niamh who led home (in 82nd position, in 13:14), with Mollie also breaking into the top-100 (95th, 13:24), and Edwards a touch farther back (108th, 13:33). For all three, their respective times and placings represented vast improvements on the 2012 edition.
Completing the junior ranks, Martha Clapp also improved on her position from twelve months previous, taking 80th (in 20:02) over the Under15 Girls’ 4km course, while Charlie Blencowe reduced his 2012-return by over a minute, and by almost 200 places (finishing in 170th, in a time of 14:26, for 3km).
Among the seniors, Lianne Brooks was the sole female representative, and her time of 49:40 gave her 367th for the 8km route. Rounding off the day, and racing amid almost 1100 in the Men’s 12km, Will Clapp took 450th (54:34), with Graeme Rolfe in 816th (63:33), and Club Chairman, Martin Hughes, in 1007th (72:19).
Reflecting, a be-spattered Will Clapp said: “I can’t praise the team enough after today. For a Club of our size to turn out double-figures in terms of representatives, and have so many inside the top halves of results is a fabulous achievement. Everyone can be really, very proud.”
Also traversing off-road park routes – all of the 5km distance – were four more Club members. At the Hanley Parkrun, Matt Driver again took a podium spot, with second place in a time of 18:23. Matthew Taylor’s 19:21 was enough to give him eighth at the Leamington version, with Dan Taylor’s 21:52 returning him in sixteenth spot down under, in Brisbane. Marise Taylor, meanwhile, was crossing new frontiers, finishing 48th in her first outing at the Oxford event (in 26:52).
One day on, and it was back to the roads, for the Ashby ‘5’ – second in the Leicestershire Road Running League Winter Series. Over a fairly flat course, renowned for producing quick times, it was, once again, Ady King first back (in 105th, with a time of 31:10), with Richard Bufton (169th. 33:48; also 3rd MV55) following on. He was chased hard by Nick Johnston (320th, 38:29), and Ray Lack (420th, 43:07) concluded the yellow vest showing amongst the 500-plus strong entry.