The Saucony English National Cross Country Championships attracted a hugely competitive field to Wollaton Park, Nottingham, with athletes from Kenilworth Runners and Leamington C&AC battling it out with the cream of UK talent.
Storm Doris had bought plenty of rain in the week leading up to the event, which meant a testing course with some heavy muddy sections and streams of black stinking water in the lower part of the course.
Ironically, the shorter courses for the under-13 girls and under-15 girls were run through the toughest areas twice.
In the men’s senior race, Paddy Roddy (44:37) was the first Kenilworth finisher in 178th position.
Kev Hope (47:04) and Dewi Williams (50:05) continued their fine cross country form, finishing 344th and 580th, respectively.
Matt Dyer (50:31), Wayne Briggs (51:22) and Pete Bryan (52:49)completed the first six scoring counters, putting them in 45th place in the team standings.
Roger Homes (56:41) and Tom Dable (76:34), who was particularly pleased with his race, were the final two runners of the Kenilworth contingent.
Leamington C&AC were three places better off, led home by Andy Savery (164th in 44:23).
Jamie Langley was 277th in 46:11, with Phil Gould (320th in 46:45) both featuring inside the top 500. Paul Andrew (508th in 49:08), Gavin Fowler (642nd in 50:53) and Brian Miller (1,157th in 57:33) completed the scoring team.
Paul Caruana (58:29) and Graham Roberts (72:28) offered support.
The race was won by Ben Connor, of the Derby Athletic Club in a time of 39:35 and there were 1,762 finishers.
In the women’s race, Leamington C&AC’s Zara Blower was 206th in 36:15.
She was joined by Courtney Thornberry (316th in 38:49) and Laura Gould (494th in 42:30).
The race had 788 finishers and was won by Chelmsford AC and Great Britain athlete Jess Judd in 29:07.
Youth results (Kenilworth Runners unless stated): Under-13 boys (3k): 91, Billy Doxey (13:41); 322 , Sam Crouchley (15:06); 395 , Ryan Hill (15:52); 398, Harry Bailey (15:55).
Under-13 girls: 156, Mel Gould (Leamington C&AC, 15:11); 297, Eva Fitzpatrick (Leamington C&AC, 16.12).
Under-15 boys (4.5k); 336, Cameron Williams-Stein (19:17); 364, Jacob Watson (20.53).
Under-15 girls: 298, Rosie Cale (Leamington C&AC, 20:24); 348, Lucy Green (Leamington C&AC, 21:02).
Under-17 men (6k): 122, Dom Priest (Leamington C&AC, 23:15): 197, Kieran Chahal (24:10); 264, Adam Houghton (26:19); 295, Ryan Baker (28:59).
Under-17 women (5k): 199, Bella Doxey (24:26).
Southam runner Rich Simkiss (McCarkiss Endurance Project) made it back to back race victories, battling strong winds at Draycote Water to win the 10k race there.
Simkiss who won the final race of the Tempo Events Winter Series at Ilmington the previous week, clocked 34:28 to finish well clear of former Kenilworth Runners clubmate Andrew Siggers (36:01).
On a memorable day for the family, Simkiss’ mother-in-law Julie Peach completed her first ever 10k event, smashing the one-hour barrier to finish second in her age category in 54:33.
Kenilworth Runners’ Laura Pettifer finished first lady and 27th overall in 42:43, overtaking Leamington C&AC’s in-form Jenny Jeeves in the last 500m to pip her by five seconds.
Spa Striders’ Kelsey Wiberley was the third female home in 45:14.
Kenilworth Runners’ Samantha Fowle finished 62nd and sixth lady in a new PB of 46:44, while Jenny Philpott, running her first race for 17 months, was pleased with her time of 50:34 for 108th.
Carla Fuste also ran a new PB of 53:01 (13th lady).
Selected others (Spa Striders unless stated): 43, Jim Wiberley (45:12); 57, Mourad Tounee (Kenilworth Runners, 45:44); 201, Claire Westrope (54:31); 290, Kathleen McCann (59:13); 326, Gary Perkins (61:05).
The attraction of a fast, flat course saw the Bourton 10k sell out in just two hours and two Spa Striders were rewarded for being quick off the mark with personal bests.
Rich Sykes clocked 40min 33sec for 93rd place, with Matt Leydon continuing his upward curve with 43:34 for 164th.
Female Striders were represented by Clare Hinton (43:58) and Lucy Tugwell (47:45) who narrowly missed out on a PB.
Kenilworth Runners’ Jon Mettyear clocked 39:53 for 79th overall and third V55, with Pauline Dable claiming second V65.
Selected others (Kenilworth runners unless stated): 350, Peter Schofield (Spa Striders, 51:30); 156, Tom Williams (43:15); 167, Mick Williams (43:42); 200, Louise Andrews (44:55); 413, Pauline Dable (55:24); 426, Tom Dable (57:20).
The race was won by Alex Lee of Cheltenham Harriers in 32:34.
There were 523 finishers.
Kenilworth Runners’ Dave Pettifer travelled to the New Forest on Sunday to take part in the Heartbreaker Marathon at Fordingbridge, a multi-terrain event named for the undulating route and windy conditions on the Fritham to Frogham Ridge.
Using the race as a build-up for the Brighton Marathon in early April, Pettifer was pleased to finish in 3:56:31 for 62nd overall and first V60.
The race was won by Matthew Bennett of Southampton AC in 2:39:50 and there were 206 finishers.
Spa Striders’ Anne Hurrell finished fifth lady overall and first V35 at the Hertfordshire-based Baldock Beast Half Marathon.
Hurrell clocked 1:44:18 on the multi-terrain course.
More than 400 runners tackled the event, with Luton Athletics Club’s Ian Kimpton posting a winning times of 67:36 to smash the course record by five minutes.
Thirteen Kenilworth Runners took on the Belvoir Challenge on Saturday.
Each year new routes are provided which are either 26 or 15 miles and are typically multi-terrain, muddy and undulating, following public footpaths, byways, tracks and minor roads throughout the Vale of Belvoir.
Four Runners took on the 26 mile challenge, running together to make sure no one ate too much cake at the checkpoints and they had enough runners to pull each other out of the mud if required.
The other nine runners took on the 15-mile route which proved to be just as muddy as the longer route, with Louise Andrews finishing 39th and fourth lady in 2hr 13min 8sec.
Marathon: 165, Sally Hicks (5:34:01); 166, Colin Bailey (5:34:02); 167, Michael Scandrett (5:34:18); 168, Ian Baynes (5:34:23).
15 miles: 39, Louise Andrews (2:13:08); 63, Stan Alexander (2:18:48); 146, Richard Broadbent (2:44:15); 316, Stef Lunn (3:17:51); 317, Sheela Hobden (3:17:51); 323, David Brown (3:18:58); 324, Elizabeth Keell (3:18:59); 342, Mike Crust (3:26:03); 343, Mandy Crust (3:26:05).
The 26-mile race was won by Stephen Shanks of Thames Harriers AC in 3:20:28 and Ben Griffiths won the 15-mile race in 1:44:07.
Spa Striders’ Richard Bicknell and Helen Forrest also completed the 15-mile event, running together to come home in 3:29:45 and 3:29:47, respectively.
Kenilworth Runners’ Nick Williams was pleased with his run in the River Avon Trial 12k on Sunday after finishing ninth in a time of 59:43.
The race was won by Andrew Fisher of Lincoln Tri Club in 52:33 and there were 140 finishers.
Spa Striders’ Andrew Graham (1:05:42) competed in the Rhyl 10 miler on Saturday, finishing the flat seaside course in 15th position overall. n Don’t miss next week’s Warwick Half Marathon picture special.