Kenilworth Runners finished 13th out of 16 teams in the second Birmingham League Division One race at Pittville Park, Cheltenham, on Saturday but still managed to cling on to ninth place overall.
Struggling with injuries, they produced a battling performance in a strong field, with host club Cheltenham and the universities of Loughborough, Birmingham and Warwick putting out strong squads.
Phil Gould (33min 26sec)was first home for Kenilworth in 50th position, with Stephen Page just behind in 33:50.
Kev Hope (35:34) and Marc Curtis (35:55) were the next Kenilworth team counters, running well to finish 100th and 107th, but the performance of the day came from Stuart Hopkins, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury since the first race at Leamington and unable to train.
After taking the first two laps very cautiously, Hopkins came through the field to clock 36:46, with Peter Bryan, coming back to form, finished sixth counter in 36:50.
Selected others: 133, Paul Andrew (36:55); 156, MateuszPodsiadly (37:52); 160, Paul Royle (38:02); 162, Wayne Briggs (38:11); 176, Matthew Dyer (38:46); 204, Jason Hill (40:07); 212, Dave Ramus (40:54); 216, Stewart Underhill (41:09); 228, James Glover (42:57); 250, Sagar Depala (50:26); 256, Tom Dable (53:47).
Susie Stannard battled brilliantly to lead Spa Striders home at the second Midlands Ladies League race at Cofton Park, placing tenth in the masters’ field in 26:18.
Fiona Edwards (26:57), Kate Gadsby (27:15) and Clare Hinton (27:27) completed the scoring team which finished 12th overall, with Caroline Whitehouse (27:59) close behind.
Striders were the first masters’ team, with Kenilworth Runners third.
Leamington’s Kelly Edwards was the first local runner home in an impressive 25:22 for 37th, with Zara Blower coming through strongly in the latter stages for 49th in 26:07.
Jenny Jeeves was a fine 62nd in 26:48, with Delia Caruana their final counter in 36:07.
Imogen Peace led Kenilworth home, finishing 57th in 26:26, with Laura Pettifer (83rd in 27:37), Louise Andrews (92nd in 28:06)) and Courtney Thornberry (102nd in 28:26) completing the senior team counters.
Great Britain’s Jess Judd (Loughborough Students) was a convincing winner in 22:05.