Inter-counties Cross Country Championships

The Inter-counties cross country championships experienced the aftermath of the Beast from the East on Saturday. With the snow melting into the ground along with the additional rain that fell on Friday. Conditions underfoot at Prestwold Hall, near Loughborough, were certainly challenging.

Tents were pitched amidst mud and the course saw runners splashing through thick patches of wet mud and battling against slippery conditions. By the end of the day, there was not a clean runner, official or spectator in sight.

Leamington C&AC had 6 runners selected to run for Warwickshire in a competition that sees the best cross-country runners competing alongside more famous faces like Andy Vernon and Gemma Steele.

The day kicked off with the U20 men’s race which saw Kieran Chahal and Greg West making the team. The 8k course ensured that both men came back covered from head to toe in mud but in a very satisfying 61st position for Chahal and 78th for West. Next up was Melanie in the U13 girls race,  over the 3km course finishing 194th in a time of 17:06.

Cian McKearney ran in the U17 6km race finishing in a time of 25:56. A late call up for Jenny Jeeves ran the 8km course in 41:25 finishing in 175th position marking the end of a very successful cross-country season. Callum Hanlon ran in the senior men’s race, covering the 12km course in a time of 47:52 to finish 84th on the day.


  

National Champs

National Cross Country Champs

The sun shone on the Saucony National Cross Country Championships on Saturday. Held on Parliament Hill, with central London emerging out of the mist on the skyline, Leamington C&AC athletes congregated underneath their flag amongst hundreds of other clubs doing the same.

The course has become iconic for the start of the race which sees runners charging up a hill like something reminiscent of a battle charge, with the ground literally shaking underfoot.

Performances

First up for the club was Melanie Gould (U13) who ran a strong race and, having got slightly confused with the twisting course, found herself heading into the final field before she knew it and used some stored energy to take a number of girls in the final few metres to finish in 155th position out of 467 runners.

Sam Morrey ran in the U13 boy’s race, the race being Morrey’s first national event since moving up to the U13 category this season. Running the same course as Gould, Morrey fared well and finished the 3k course in 16:36.

The U15 girls ran a 4k course, with Rosie Cale being first home for the club in 19:00, Rositsa Gugutkova not far behind in 19:14. Lucy Green ran well to finish in 20:16.

Greg West found himself in the junior race, a 10k two lap course that made the most of the hills of Hampstead Heath. Despite the fact that he was at the bottom of the 17-20 age group West finished in the club’s highest position of the day in 94th in a time of 37:01.

Ladies Race

When the ladies’ race started at 2.20pm, the course had been significantly churned up by the thousands of runners that had raced earlier in the day. With a record 1,113 ladies running, the fight for the race line was desperate. The runners found themselves not only fighting for places but in some places fighting to stay upright. Jenny Jeeves made it look easy, running the 8k course in a time of 35:07 and coming 173rd overall.

Zara Blower was next in for Leamington in a time of 37 minutes and 267th place. Courtney Thornberry ran well to finish in 41:16 (552) with Laura Gould (45:58) and Carol Blower (48:00) finishing in the top 900. The ladies team finished 53rd on the day out of 112 scoring teams.

Mens Race

The start of the men’s race saw 2,328 charging up the hill to get to the top and avoid the notorious bottleneck on the first bend before entering into a crowded 12k race. Callum Hanlon ran a strong race, fighting for his top 100 position in the fast downhill finish, Hanlon managed to come in in 96th place in a time of 43:23. Phil Gould, who had been struggling with illness during the week, was determined to race what would be his 11th national event.

An improvement in race fitness over the current season was frustratingly lost due to his symptoms but nevertheless he ran well and was able to enter into a sprint finish with ex club-mate Kev Hope (which Hope won). Gould finished in 47:43 and 390th place. Johnathon Brown was next in (52:43) with Charlie Staveley not far behind in 54:50; although only 2 minutes apart, the level of this race meant they were separated by 227 places. Marc Curtis was 5th counter crossing the line in 55:14 with Simon Perkin close behind in 55:50. The 6 men scored for the team which came 72nd out of 162 scoring clubs. Paolo Foglino came in at just under the hour in 59:53 with Sagar Depala finishing in 1:14:35.

MELs going to London!

West Midlands Trials for Leamington C&AC athlete

Saturday saw the West Midland trials for the London Mini Marathon take place at Stourport Cycleway where young athletes competed for selection to represent the West Midlands in a race which uses the last 3 miles of the London Marathon course on 22 April. Leamington C&AC’s Melanie Gould had been unable to secure a place last year so was back with determination to claim her place in the under 13 category and she did not disappoint.

Settling into the course in 6th position, Gould knew that she would have to dig deep and move up to 5th position to ensure her “call up”, a difficult feat when the girls competing were all after the same prize.

With unusually sunny conditions and a hard uphill on each of the 4 laps of the 3-mile course, Gould ran strong and determined.  She was able to move up one place on her third lap which she managed to hold to cross the line in 5th place in a personal best time of 19:45.

Gould will now head to London to represent the West Midlands on 22 April. Gould’s teammate, Rositsa Gugutkova, who is relatively new to running having joined the club last summer, also tried out. Running a strong race, Gugutkova was met with some exceptionally strong competition, which meant that despite her time of 20:56, she was 13th overall.

Gloucester League

Pittville Park in Cheltenham was the venue for the third Gloucester League Cross Country on Saturday. An emergency change to the course had to be arranged due to the lake overflowing and the usual stream crossing was considered not safe so runners were taken off the usual course to make the crossing. Leamington C&AC athlete, Jenny Jeeves was overjoyed with her run, finishing in 9th place overall in a time of 28:21. Jeeves started the race meaning business and was able to use her strength to push through the field to claim the 9th spot. Accompanying Jeeves in the ladies’ race was Carol Blower, who has been on fine form this season, finishing in 36:07.

Leamington athletics member

Leamington C&AC Athlete

Graham Roberts ran as part of the MV65 race and was pleased to finish 7th in the category in a time of 35:10. The men’s race saw Marc Curtis first over the line for the club in 39:35 with Steve Howes next in a time of 41:14. Steve Roberts was next home in 44:21. In the mens team Alex Montgomery started the race at a faster pace than he was used to.  Montgomery was pleased that he was able to stick to this pace and was happy with his finish of 47:47. The men finished 9th on the day for the masters team.