Just over 400 years ago, Guy Fawkes along with his co-conspirators planned to watch the destruction of the Houses of Parliament from Parliament Hill, capturing the full 'glory' of their travails from afar. This past weekend, it was Harborough AC Club Chairman, Will Clapp, who along with his co-conspirators traversed the same terrain, equally searching the best perspective from which to take in the full grandeur of their exploits, at the ECCA National Cross Country Championships. Numbering fifteen runners, and several supporters, the HAC contingent ensured notable representation for the district, but faced decidedly difficult conditions; caused by the recent deluge that had descended over the nation's capital. Greeted by nigh-on treacherous underfoot conditions from the outset, those sporting the yellow-and-black colours covered distances varying from 3km to 12km.
Over the shortest of those were the Under 13s. For the Boys, George Lowe (133rd position, in a time of 13:55) headed George Eveleigh (164th, 14:09) and Harvey Finch (222nd, 14:38), whilst Lizzie Clapp secured a top-third finish (141st, 14:40) in the Girls' race, with Rohan Finch (164th, 14:53) also showing good form (despite losing a shoe!)
Over 1km further, Lottie Edwards registered a top-100 spot (93rd, 17:30) in the Under 15 Girls competition, with Niamh and Mollie Watson (18:17 and 18:35, respectively) taking places in the top-200. The Under 17 Women's race saw Martha Clapp covering the 5km route in 23:17, for 111st.
Continuing the increase in distance, it was then to the Senior Women's 8km, and the battling qualities of Hannah Eveleigh and Marise Taylor. From close-to 900 entrants, a return of 127th place (in 36:23) reflected a very strong run from Eveleigh, while Taylor's 675th came from a clocking of 50:05.
To their male counterparts and, arguably, the intra-Club performance of the day. Over a testing 12km course rendered increasingly taxing with each race that preceded it Sean Fenwick's time of 46:13 had him over ten minutes ahead of the next Harborough athlete, and gave him 260th place from more than 2000. He was followed home by Daniel Taylor (1180th, 56:48), Will Clapp (1331st, 58:32), and Graeme Rolfe (1730th, 65:25).
Looking back at the end of the day's proceedings, Chairman Will Clapp refrained: The bare facts of yesterday's results do not really capture the fun and horror of it all! All fifteen who ran did brilliantly to complete very challenging courses, and several of us (both runners and spectators) lost our footing and went over in the mud. Our thanks go Graham Hillier for sorting out and driving the minibus. Another great Harborough AC day out!
Midweek, meanwhile, and in far more conserved conditions, Karen Brooks travelled to Lee Valley's indoor complex, to contest an Open Middle Distance evening. Running over seven-and-a-half laps that constituted 1500m, and with upcoming selection competitions including the Inter-Area Challenge, and the British Masters Championships, the race represented a final tune-up for Brooks; And she certainly proved that the motor is running well! A time of 5:13.00 was three seconds quicker than twelve months earlier, and sees her now place second in the FV55 age group UK All-Time rankings!
One week earlier on the roads and Steve Foxon lined up alongside over 600 others at the Stamford-based St. Valentine's 30k. Crossing the line with a time of 2:37:53 on the watch, Foxon secured a top-half finish, taking 307th place.
Finally, and on the habitual 5km Parkrun scene, Adam Eales took an encouraging second place at Corby's West Glebe Park setting (20:33), with Dave Waddington in eighth (21:29). Hannah Stewart took 29th (25:33), with Lin Farrow in 40th (27:23), Claire Eales, 73rd (31:34), and Adam Stewart 78th (32:32) all from over 100 entries.