The second cross country fixture of the season saw the day bright, warm and dry. Conditions were firm to soft with little mud, distinctly very un-XC like. Perhaps just as well the Mudpeople were seeking less stable conditions up Kirk Fell in Wasdale.
Twenty Striderettes took to the start line, of which five were making their cross country debut. The scratch race nature of this fixture made for a scrappy start as 320 women jostled for position up the first incline. Elaine Bisson shot off in to the distance to become the first Strider home in 33rd place and first veteran counter. Fifty places back was Fiona Kinghorn-Jones, second Strider and veteran counter over the line, followed not far behind by Fiona Shenton who completed the trio to finish 10th in the Vet’s competition – congratulations ladies!
Hot on Fiona S’s heels was Catherine Elliott in a storming run at her second XC race, with Camilla Lauren-Määttä next. Steph Piper had them both in her sights for much of the race but was unable to catch them, finishing as first senior counter. Jan Young, Jenny Search and first-timer Sue Gardham were the next to finish, strung out across the field ahead of Kate MacPherson and Helen Thomas who battled it out to the end, only two seconds adrift of each other.
A tightly-packed bunch of Striders ladies followed in their wake. There were strong performances from debutants Vics Jackson and Karen Metters, who led in a pack of nine Striders ladies within the next 50 places. Vics pipped a rival DCH at the line in a sprint finish, Karen outperformed several competitors along the back straight.
They were followed closely by: Clare Metcalfe as second senior counter; Diane Watson’s whose long days training in the hills made for a time 1:32 quicker than last year; first-timer Lucy Herkes’ Monday grass training clearly paid dividends to make her the third and final senior counter (well done to you both – 19th in the Senior’s competition!); Rebecca Devine’s storming sprint finish knocked back ten other competitors to finish two places above Helen Hall who also performed admirably in her XC debut. Jan Ellis and Jenny Cooper rounded up the team, both running well.
Before long, the men were away. The field was huge, well over 400 streamed out along the course where we cheered them on from the top of the big hill. Rob Everson led the team of 18 Striders men and looked strong for the first two laps but unfortunately had to pull out due to a niggling injury. So it was that Simon Gardner became the first Strider home by a wide margin (120th place and first veteran counter). Matthew Archer, Jack Lee (first and second senior counters respectively) and Scott Watson (second vet counter) followed in quick succession after that. Jack in his second XC looking like the terrain suits him well with Simon, Matt and Scott all producing the admirable performances we know and love.
Next to follow was Dave Halligan as the final veteran counter, placing the men’s veteran’s team 20th overall – excellent! Andrew Rayner as the third senior counter was not far behind, the senior gents finishing 25th in the table – a job very well done indeed. Steve Lindsay and Shaun Roberts put in strong performances as the Striders men began to come in thick and fast. Malcolm Sygrove, in a long-awaited XC debut, heralded the arrival of a close group which included Richard Hockin, determined to the end; Richard Hall Sr; Ari Hodgson who put in a great finish; David Case in a spectacular sprint but was overhauled by a rival from Crook; ultra-man Dave Robson who managed to pull five places clear of Dougie Nisbet in the final lap; Steve Ellis still looking strong and not-last Gareth Cardus, paced in by Richard Hall on a cool-down lap of the field.
Well done to all who ran and many thanks to those who provided much-needed shouts of encouragement and, of course, cake. See you all on the battlefield next month at Aykley Heads.
|1||833||Lewis Timmins (Morpeth Harriers)||MSen||F||30:18|
|1||1113||Emily Stewart (Newcastle University)||FSen||F||21:36|