Regional Champs Conclude XC Campaign
The final weekend of January traditionally sees the conclusion of the domestic, local Cross Country season. And 2015 has been no different, as some fifteen Harborough AC runners travelled to Nottingham’s 500-acre Wollaton Park venue – for the Midland Counties Championships. To the backdrop of the magnificent Wollaton Hall (used to depict Wayne Manor in the finale of the reprised Batman franchise – ‘The Dark Knight Rises’), over 1500 regional Club athletes took on distances varying from 3km to 12km, during a crisp and breezy – yet bright – afternoon’s racing.
Pick of the yellow-and-black contingent were the duo of Hannah Eveleigh and Martha Clapp; sole representatives in the Senior and Under-17 Women’s races, respectively. Eveleigh’s 30th-place overall (over 8km, in 31:37, from 266 finishers), and Clapp’s 18th (over 5km, from 60 entrants) gave each a top-five place amongst the Leicestershire Club runners. The latter’s younger sister – Lizzie – then picked up 27th in the Under-13 Girls’ race (from 118, over 3km in 12:54). Elsewhere, there were top-fifty positions for George’s Eveleigh (45th, 12:06) and Lowe (49th, 12:11) in the Under-13 Boys’ 3km, as well as for Niamh and Mollie Watson (34th, 16:37, and 44th, 16:50) in the Under-15 Girls’ 4km.
The Senior Men’s 12km offered both the largest entry list of the day (over 450 competitors), as well as the longest distance (12km), and the largest HAC showing, with six runners. Gareth Wood headed that sextet (121st, in 44:21), with Adam Brooks also breaking inside the top-200 (191st, 47:30). Martin Gore, Will Clapp, Daniel Taylor, and Dave Waddington concluded a 24th-place return for the Team.
Following a day enjoyed by almost all, Club Chairman – Will Clapp, said: “I thought that our fifteen runners contended with an excellent cross country course of hills and mud against the best of the Midlands today, and we can all be satisfied with a hard day’s toil. I also want to offer a sincere ‘thank you’ to everyone who came to support us today, and to help with all the unseen preparations. A real Club effort!”
Midweek, meanwhile – and also over the Cross Country discipline – Sean Fenwick contended the 6.7-mile route of the Eric Humphries Memorial. Held over a three-lapped course around Northampton’s Delapre Park, Fenwick asserted his authority over a 50-plus strong field on lap two, pulling away for a comfortable win.
On the roads, Sunday witnessed the opening salvo in the 2015 Leicestershire Road Running League Winter Series, in the form of the Barrow Six. And, with over 650 runners, a competitive race was evidently in the offing. Nine HAC members featured within those massed ranks, and it was Richard Bufton (in 42:01) who took the intra-Club bragging rights (in 213th, overall). He was followed home by Martin Hughes (in 295th, with 44:28), with Nick and Jo Johnston, Lin Farrow, Pete Leach, Ray Lack, Linda Lawton, and Ruth Bingham all opening their road season campaigns with strong runs.
At Northampton’s Wakelin Farm, Ben Smith joined in excess of 100 others for the 10km Gayton Run. Over a pleasant course – including a couple of small climbs – Smith registered an encouraging 17th-place finish, with 44:00 on the watch.
Also over 10km, Claire Eales took a top-300 berth at the Rockingham Speedway ‘Brass Monkey 10’, in a time of 64:42 that represented a new Personal Best clocking.
One week earlier, Yvonne Scarrott journeyed to Folksworth, in Peterborough, for the Folksworth 15-miler. There, an excellent time of 1:48:52 afforded her first place in the FV45 age bracket (94th overall, from almost 450 runners), as well as a new outright female Club Record for the distance.
At the 68th Corby Parkrun, on Saturday, there was another promising showing from Ben Smith, as he took sixth spot (in 21:35, for the 5km course). Tom Ward chased hard, eventually placing 16th (22:47), with Elizabeth Harber and Dave Oram rounding off the Club’s entry.