Charity Begins at Home for HAC
Having made its bow some 80+ years ago (in 1929), the Kettering Cross Country Charity Cup event is one of the oldest in the UK. This year, for the second in succession, races also incorporated the Northamptonshire Masters and Eastern Veterans XC Championships; notably boosting the number of Senior and Veteran entries. Held at the well-known Wicksteed Park venue, the 2013 edition also enjoyed substantially better conditions than the last two, with runners benefitting from surer underfoot conditions; lending themselves to quicker times than in recent memory.
Taking all those factors into consideration, the day’s racing proved a good triumph for those robed in Harborough AC colours, numbering 23-strong! First up, over a foreshortened course of 1,6km, the U11 age groups did battle. With numbers there swollen to 75 eager runners, the relative blur of spikes and legs certainly kept the officials busy, and with ten of those coming from HAC, the club’s own administrators had a job to do! Making sure to play their dutiful part, though, there were duly top-ten finishes for George Lowe (seventh) and Luke Ainsworth (tenth) in the boys’ ranks, and Rohan Finch (fifth) and Hannah Smith (sixth) in the girls’. They were ably supported by Jamie Davis (12th), Thomas Ainsworth (26th), William Deely (27th) Toby Fletcher (30th), Eleanor Partridge (21st), and Isabella Hart (27th) – all of which generated third spot for the boys’ team, and fourth for the girls’.
For the U13s –covering 2,0km – there were finishing spots for Harvey Finch (19th), Georgina Wilson (20th), Lauren Evans (24th), and Catriona Deely (31st). Up one more age group – to the U15s – and another quartet took to the fields (over 4,4km this time). Charlie Blencowe helped himself to a top-ten berth, before the trio of Niamh Watson (fifth), Mollie Watson (sixth), and Alice Tansey (eighth) secured second place in the team contest. In the senior ranks, Sarah Blencowe took spirit from son Charlie’s showing, to fight her way to a fabulous fourth position (over 5,0km), before Steve Costall continued his return to form with a battling ninth-place finish (10km).
Finally, in the Veteran Women’s 5,0km, there were excellent finishes of second, fourth, and seventh from the trio of Hannah Eveleigh, Karen Brooks, and Yvonne Scarrott. And, as a result of the various regulations and divisions included, that equated to victory in the Northamptonshire Championships for Eveleigh, with Brooks taking second place. The threesome also garnered another nice trophy as they picked off the team competition with some aplomb! Reflecting, Club Chairman – Will Clapp – enthused, “last year, we only had 12 runners out at this event, and picked up just two medals. Cast forward twelve months, and we have nigh-on double the number of runners, three podium places in the team events, and a County Champion in our ranks! I’m made up with the success, and the trajectory the Club finds itself on – it’s fantastic!”
Elsewhere, Matt Driver took on the Newcastle Dales Dash ‘10’ at the Apedlae Community Country Park, in Staffordshire. Traversing an undulating route, and suffering as the result of somewhat destabilised pre-race preparations, Driver’s return of sixth place (in a time of 39:40) from an entry of 170 is testament to his sheer will-to-win, and augers well as the winter road season looms into stark focus; yet comes as no surprise to anyone at HAC.
On the Parkrun scene, there was another strong turnout for the yellow-and-black maillot, with a six-strong party heading to West Glebe Park for the tenth Corby hosting. There, Tom Ward continued his remarkable rise, taking his first victory with a time of 19:18. Dave Waddington also broke the top-ten (sixth, in 21:18), with Kevin Dinsdale (12th, 23:08), Marise Taylor (24th, 26:15), Claire Eales (40th, 31:24), and the race-walking Lin Farrow (52nd, 36:55) rounding things off. In Leamington, meanwhile, Matt Taylor chalked up 13th place (19:31) from close-to 250 runners, and Martha Clapp chose the Cheltenham course setting to register a fine second place in the female bracket (First FU20, and 35th overall, 21:18).
One week previous, and the ever-intrepid quartet of Ady and Jackie King, Yvonne Scarrott and Steve Sawford traipsed their collective wares to the sunnier climes of Benidorm; for the 2013 Benidorm Half Marathon. Alongside over 1,800 others, the four clearly benefitted from the conditions at the 30th hosting of the race, with Scarrott recording a superb second-placed finish in the FV45 category (225th overall, in 1:33:29). Ady notched a solid 40th-placed finish (in 1:22:09), with Jackie clocking 1:49:40 for 767th, and Sawford also breaking the two-hour mark (with 1:57:45, for 1,008th). Also tackling the 13,1 Mile distance, Jacquie Hanmer journeyed to the Welsh resort of Conwy. Over a winding, scenic, hilly route, her time of 1:34:36 was good enough to give her 267th position overall, from more than 2,200 entrants.
And in the third of the Midlands Race Walking League contests – in Tamworth – John Thompson helped himself to ninth place (in 29:24), with Lin Farrow in 29th (in 36:47).