Not The Sort of Spa Bath We Had in Mind!
Regional XC Championships
This past weekend, a 21-strong Harborough AC team travelled to Leamington Spa, to compete in the Midlands regional Cross Country Championships. Held in the 300-acre spaces of Newbold Comyn, the Championships saw races across all age-ranges, from 3km to 12km in distance. Newbold Comyn itself features in The Domesday Book, and there were certainly prevailing weather conditions of appropriate Biblical proportions, with runners having to contend with thunder, lightning and hailstones; all whilst traversing an over-growing and flooded sink hole pit that had been sadistically added to the course!
In the youngest age bracket - the Under 13s - there was a highly commendable 20th position for Lottie Edwards (over 3km), with Scarlett Wilson (58th) and Ursula Clapp (103rd) also placing well in a large entry field. Up one bracket - to the Under 15s (and over 4km) - and the quartet of Niamh and Mollie Watson, Sophie Domingo and Alice Tansey secured an excellent tenth place in the team event, with 33rd, 44th, 45th, and 80th positions, respectively. Martha Clapp also garnered herself a top-20 finish (19th) in the Under 17 Women's 5km, whilst Bethany Ellis was just two places farther back, in another commendable display.
In the senior ranks, the combined efforts of Yvonne Scarrott (131st), Sarah Blencowe (163rd), Marise Taylor (179th) and Lianne Brooks (195th) ably augmented the top-100 returns of Hannah Eveleigh (35th) and Jacquie Hanmer (87th), to give the Club's female ranks 17th spot in the team category, from an entry of well in excess of 220. Their male counterparts, meanwhile, securely laced their spikes up for the day's longest race (12km), alongside nigh-on 400 others. Matthew Taylor's 180th place was the best showing, with brother, Daniel, a touch adrift in 207th. Tom Ward stepped away from his more usual locale of the Parkrun scene to chalk up 234th, with Martin Hughes in 335th, George Nolan in 357th, and Steve Sawford in 362nd. All that generated a final team position of 33rd.
Casting a watchful eye over proceedings was Club Chairman, Will Clapp: "In some absolutely atrocious conditions I felt that everyone acquitted themselves very well. It was especially encouraging to have so many of the Club's membership out competing on a day like today; but we all suffered together, and can definitely hold our heads up high. In particular, the driving, horizontal rain and atmospheric claps of thunder made the Senior races notably memorable!"
Elsewhere, Karen Brooks tackled a personal double-header. First up, on saturday, was the latest Braunstone Parkrun; where she picked up top spot amongst the female competitors (in a time of 20:34 for the traditional 5km) - with Rick Brown beginning his return from injury with a reassuring clocking of 24:28. Part two came a day later - and over double the distance - in the guise of the Brass Monkey 10km. Comprising just over four laps of the Rockingham Speedway race circuit, the race offers a good opportunity to register a new personsal best; should conditions permit. That, unfortunately, was not to be the case, as the detrimental climate persisted. Constant icy winds and rain rendered the open-plains somewhat mal-attuned to quick racing, but Brooks still strode to fifth placed female (in 44:05). Lin Farrow, followed-up her recent Midland Masters' XC success with a 53:16 clocking. Also traversing the tarmaced cambers - and making their debuts to boot - were Andy Meads and Paul O'Brien, who both produced extremely combative results, with the former notching up a wonderful 11th place, in 36:57, and the latter cracking 50-minutes, taking 104th in 49:31.
Returning to the Parkruns, and the West Glebe Park setting of the Corby version saw Dave Waddington pick up tenth place (21:52), with Claire Eales in 75th (32:30), both featuring well amongst well-over 100 others.