Cross Country Offers Club Amusement!
This past Saturday saw Kettering’s Wicksteed Park hosting the second in the 2010-11 Series of the North Mids Cross Country; an event which doubles as the Northants County Championships. With the venue for the third race in the Series in doubt, extra emphasis resided with the races at Wicksteed Park, and a mammoth Harborough AC turnout of no les than 32 members clearly underlined this. The Park itself is widely held to be the oldest amusement park in England – dating back to 1921, and one man’s desire to construct a model railway – and was constructed on several acres of open meadowland. It was to the hallmarks of this pasture that the Second Event in the North Mids Cross Country Series returned, and which may well need re-seeding after being pounded by over four hundred wilful runners!
Fresh off the back of the recent Junior Club Awards, no fewer than eight of that contingent took to the undulations; all more than meriting such prescient adulations. In the youngest age group – the mixed Under 11 race – twins Niamh and Mollie Watson were at it once again, placing sixth and eighth girls respectively. Not to be outdone, their Under 13 counterparts then replicated this, with Sam Edwards taking sixth in the boys’ race, and Martha Clapp eighth in the girls’. In the Under 15s bracket, Bethany Ellis placed 13th, while the Under 17s saw Jake Watson equal this position, Emile Gardner take 32nd (in the Men’s event) and Emily Taylor come home 16th for the Women.
In the midst of the more heavily contested senior and veteran ranks, it was the male athletes who just shaded the plaudits over their female club mates, with the Veteran Men racing to a provisional top-three Team place (thanks to the endeavours of Sean Fenwick, Will Clapp, and Ady King). First over the line for Harborough was Sean – in 17th – with Will in 52nd, and Ady just adrift of him in 59th. The massed ranks of runners in the event was substantially swelled by a further eleven HAC members; (in finishing order) Adam Brooks, Martin Gore, Shane Edge, Graeme Rolfe, John Thompson, Rick Brown, Martin Hughes, Dave Ward, Steve Sawford, Chris Loake, and Dave Oram. On conditions that would be given a horse racing classification of ‘good, soft in places’, the Club’s female runners also acquitted themselves well, also hitting double figures in terms of turnout as ten cantered round the course. Hannah Eveleigh took the in-house bragging rites, with 18th place, while Karen Brooks also secured a top-50 finish, coming 36th. Sarah Ward, Lianne Brooks, Jo Johnston, Ruth Bingham, Linda Lawton, Jackie King, Marise Taylor, and Lin Farrow completed the lineup.
Club Cross Country Captain Will Clapp enthused, “I was exceptionally pleased with the turnout from the Club today, and the results clearly show the benefit of such a large representation. To see it right across the age-range is really encouraging too, and absolutely everyone ran very competitively. It’s great to see so many Club athletes taking to the country!”
Meanwhile, the Club also held its Annual General Meeting in the past week. The event saw Martin Hughes remain as Chairman, with Will Clapp, Andy Robinson, Lianne Brooks and Pete Leach as the various Team Captains (across the road, XC, and Track & Field disciplines). Traci Edwards also reprises her role in charge of the Club’s junior ranks.