A Master Class Season!

Leamington C&AC Masters Ladies maintained their first position spot at the weekend taking the gold medal in the Midlands Ladies Cross Country League, with Kelly Edwards also taking the medal for first master and Monica Williamson taking bronze. The final race of the league was held at Aldersley Stadium in Wolverhampton and, with the men joining them for their final in the Birmingham Cross Country League, the day saw the club out in full support. 18 ladies from LCAC ran the muddy and slightly confusing course which snaked round the fields and a disused railway around the sports facility. Edwards ran a strong race and finished 13th overall (22:54) with Williamson not far behind in 16th (24:04). Jenny Jeeves was next home in 20th position (24:25) meaning that, as has been usual this season, Leamington’s top three runners also counted for the masters’ team points. With Zara Blower next home in 26th place (24:50) the ladies team finished an impressive 3rd on the day. The team finished 5th overall in the league just 3 points behind 4th position. Wendy Daniels made up the masters’ team finishing in 34th position (25:23). An excess of traffic on the motorway saw Saffia del Torre arrive after the gun had been fired which led to her having to race down to the start only to turn around and race back up the hill chasing the tail runner. With official’s commenting at the honesty of the athlete, del Torre managed to fight her way through the pack to finish in a respectable time of 27:13 just behind team mate Courtney Thornberry (27:09) Shortly afterwards teammates Eve Walpole and Faye Barr fought each other to the finish line both crossing the line in 28:04.  Other runners: Elaine Sherwin (25:27), Shamira Naidu-Young (26:51), Charlie Mitchell (29:04); Judith Hanlon (30:34); Carol Blower (31:19); Laura Gould (31:26), Tara Fagge (31:40), Mary Donaldson (32:57), Louise Marsh (34:11).

The action-packed women’s race seemed to be mirrored in the men’s race with Steve Roberts again arriving late and having to run downhill to the start to turn around to begin the race. Starting the race after the main pack had left the field it was a challenge for Roberts to make up the lost time, but the runner managed to pick off several runners to finish in a time of 44:05. The club was led out by solid cross-country runner Callum Hanlon who eventually finished 14th in a time of 29:42. Phil Gould was next home in a time of 32:23 with the rising star Kieran Chahal hot on his heels finishing in 32:45. Tom Foulterton was, in turn, chasing Chahal and finished just 3 seconds behind him in 31:48 making for some closely placed scoring for the A team (51,59 and 62). Paul Andrew, back from injury finished in 85th place (32:24) with Richard Merrell making up the A team in 91st position (32:38). The A team has scored consistently this season and remain in 7th place in the league at the end of the final race. The B team also ran well and secured their 5th place position with Greg West being their first scorer. West, battling through a cramp during the race, finished in a time of 33:31, crossing the line at the same time as clubmate Vassilis Andreoulakis. Jack Savage (34:02); Gavin Fowler (34:52) and Dean Mawby (35:15) had been closely packed throughout the race with Marc Curtis also running well to finish in 35:59 to make up the B team. Close packing seemed the order of the day and the number of runners now in red shorts seemed to dominate certain parts of the pack. Ben Rajaan (36:35) was next in with Steve Hundal and Alex Ibbs, having chased each other around the course, both finishing in 36:40. James Joyce finished just 4 seconds later. Christian Ibbs made his debut for the club and, despite being out if his comfort zone, was seen to be smiling most of the way round finishing in a time of 48:54. Others runners: Craig Bower (36:54); Peter Stockbridge (37:24); Simon Perkins (37:36); Nick Tawney (38:18); Rob Wilson (38:23); Andrew Higgins (38:29); Paolo Foglino (39:17); Brain Miller (39:27); Paul Caruana (40:09); Philip Pavey (40:53) Alex Montgomery (43:33); Sagar Depala (43:39); Rupe Chahal (44:53)



Father and son duo Greg and Simon West (Leamington C&AC) took part in the London Winter 10k for Cancer Research at the weekend. Unfortunately, Simon struggled with hamstring issues and was unable to complete the course however Greg went on to finish 12th out of the 20,000 runners and clocked a new PB of 34:20. 



Senior Midland Champs Report

The rain certainly added to the challenge of the Midlands Cross Country Championships on Saturday. Held at Wollaton Park in Nottingham, hosts Notts AC put on a challenging course which made the most of the hill on which the picturesque hall sits, curving the course up and down the steep grassy banks a number of times. The hills and the rain were perhaps expected, however the runners also had to deal with logs to hurdle as well as a boggy section that sucked the energy out of even the most hardcore of cross country runners. The ladies ran first, an 8k course which saw a medium lap followed by two large laps. Leamington C&AC had 7 ladies on the start line, all in the infamous red shorts which have made more of a comeback to the athletics’ club kit over the past few years. Kelly Edwards ran a solid race, finishing 13th overall in a time of 32:52. Team-mates Jenny Jeeves (35:47), Zara Blower (37:23) and Elaine Sherwin (37:46) packed nicely in positions 42, 60 and 65 to bring the ladies team into 8th overall. Other ladies running were Laura Gould (45:35, 180th); Carol Blower (46:57, 192nd) and May Donaldson (47:55, 199) out of a field of 250.

The men faced 4 large laps which meant at least 12 hill climbs, 8 log hurdles and 4 energy sapping bog sections. Having watched and supported the women there were a few nervous faces on the start line. Phil Gould, continuing on his “come back” to the top of cross country racing was first home for the club in 37th place and a time of 45:29. Gould was pushed round the course knowing that local competitors were hot in his heels, an early push using a downhill section before the last boggy part saw Gould surge past a number of runners before a sprint finish and despite the tough 12k course, saw him keep off his challengers.  Jason Hill was the next club member back in position 143 (51:45), followed by Marc Curtis (53:16, 183rd); Craig Bower (54:03, 198th), Simon Perkins (54:08, 200th) and Garrath Schule (55:59, 239th) to make the scoring team of 6. Paolo Foglini finished in 291st position in a time of 58:24 with Andrew Higgins just tipping over the hour in 60:02 and 329th. Steve Roberts was not far behind in 62:30 (369th). Roger Fagge also ran and seemed to be in high spirits with two laps to go on the tough course, Fagge finished 445th in a time of 69:16.


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