Midlands Cross Country Championships
Twenty six Harborough AC runners took part in the 2019 edition of the historic Midlands Counties Cross Country Championships, held over the hilly Newbold Comyn course in Leamington, Warwickshire. The men’s team comprised one senior (Tom Ward) and ten veterans, led home by Jamie McAllister, who finished the three-lap 12 kilometre course in a time of 50m58 for 172nd overall. The first six finishers counted in the men’s team competition, with McAllister and Ward followed by David Maclean, Garry Hodgkins, Nick Turner-Henke and Peter Attenborough to leave the club 27th. Non-scoring support was provided by Graeme Rolfe, Will Clapp, Iain Barber, ‘Shoeless’ Ian Southwell and Gary Wallis.
Lianne Brooks was first back for the women over 8 kilometres, followed by Marise Taylor, Tracy Southwell and Louise McAllister, giving the team 31st place.
Best team result of the day was delivered by the under-17 women who finished an impressive 5th, doing their individual chances of selection for the county team no harm at all, with Eilidh Maclean securing a top-20 finish over the 5km distance, supported by Beth Wallis in 21st and Lizzie Clapp returning from injury to finish 44th.
Other juniors competing were Zoe Morgan-Williams and Aisha Redhead (under-13 girls), Thomas Hayes and Isaac Turner-Henke (under-13 boys), Adam Barber (under-15 boys), Amy Turner-Henke (under-15 girls) and Tom Fortnum (under-20 men).
Commenting at the end of a long day on the course, club chairman John Thompson said, “It’s good to see a small club like ours competing against some of the ‘big guns’ of midlands athletics at a major championship event – the likes of Coventry Godiva, Notts AC, Bristol & West, Charnwood – and being represented in every age-group. Our under-17 women showed what can be done with consistent training and getting the top runners out for these races. All three of the team will be eligible to compete at next year’s event so it will be interesting to see whether they can progress further and perhaps get among the medals in 2020. The next big cross country event for the club will be the English National Championships in a month’s time in Leeds – always a great spectacle, with international standard runners as well as those with more modest ambitions for their running. Today’s races provide valuable preparation for some of our juniors who won’t have competed on such a big stage before. Everyone ran with great spirit in difficult conditions today and they should all be proud of their efforts and achievements”.