Leamington C&AC showed their continued strength in depth at the Warwickshire County Cross Country Championships on Saturday with both men and ladies’ taking the gold trophy for the master’s team and the seniors taking silver and bronze. In addition to the team prizes, a number of individuals also received medals. Kelly Edwards was awarded gold for being first masters lady home with team mate Monica Williamson taking silver. Captain Phil Gould took silver for the men’s masters race with team mate Paul Andrew coming third.
Racing alongside the Worcester championships at Warley Woods in Smethwick, LCAC showed out in force and team manager Jimmy Atkins was pleased with the turnout which had actually been depleted due to a few members sustaining injury. Atkins commented “The club has seen a large uptake in the past couple of years and it is nice to see the club growing in number and stature. Everyone counts, and the athletes have a really positive team spirit”. Atkins has been heavily involved in the successful recruitment of new members since he joined the club 2 years ago.
The ladies race consisted of three laps around the park involving a long steady climb which was no problem for Kelly Edwards who finished first master and 5th overall. With Monica Williamson shortly behind in 3rd place for the masters, it meant Jenny Jeeves made up the team coming in 4th position in the category. The senior ladies were boosted by new recruit Lauren Woodwiss who was first senior home for the club in 9th position, with Megan McDonald in 12th and Courtney Thornberry in 14th. Other runners: Eve Walpole; Shamira Naidu-Young; Laura Gould; Carol Blower, Tara Fagge; Louise Marsh and Caroline Coward (running as a guest).
The men saw a longer lap than their female teammates which they had to battle with 4 times to complete their race. Callum Hanlon took it in his stride however, running well to finish 7th senior overall. Dom Hull and Jamie Langley came into the finish straight shoulder to shoulder with Hull just pipping Langley to the finish line to take 20th and 21st place respectively. Jack Savage made up the silver medal seniors team in 26th position in the category. The master’s team showed team mates Phil Gould and Paul Andrew battling it out in typical fashion that had followed them around since they first met on the race circuit years ago. Gould had felt he was finally getting “back in the game” following a dip in fitness. Gould was able to overtake Andrew to take 2nd master when his teammate suffered a small injury causing a fall, but Andrew still managed to make up ground to finish 3rd master with Tom Foulerton finishing just behind in 4th. Richard Merrell made up the team coming 10th overall. Other runners: Vassilis Andreoulakis; Charlie Staveley; Jason Hill; Marc Curtis; Simon Perkins; Robert Wilson; Paolo Foglino; Pete Taylor; Steve Roberts; Roger Fagge; Graham Roberts.
Saturday saw the second race of the Birmingham Cross Country League and the Midland Women’s Cross-Country League and whilst Leamington C&AC men and women were in separate locations they were united in spirit with the aid of a music anthem written by member Andrew Higgins. “The Power of the Red Shorts” was released to members of the club to mark the increased number of members now reverting to the traditional red shorts.
Red shorts a plenty, 21 ladies lined up for the start of their race at the Welcombe Hills in Stratford. With a hard up hill start and a 2 lap course which did not appear to have any flat parts at all, the ladies performed well, maintaining their first position in the masters’ category and finishing 5th in the seniors’ race. Kelly Edwards finished 21st overall and was the first master to cross the line in a time of 27:27 with Monica Williamson (28:19; 25th); Zara Blower (28:48; 36th) and Jenny Jeeves (28:55; 39th) making up the scoring team. Edwards, Williamson and Jeeves also scored for the masters team leaving Wendy Daniels (29:44; 50th) to complete the scoring. The ladies were seen recovering with mulled wine and cake in a tinsel covered tent after the race. Other runners: Megan McDonald (29:06); Saffia Del Torre (31:08); Courtney Thornberry (31:46); Anouk Molliex (32:34); Charlie Mitchell (33:15); Eve Walpole (33:35); Laura Gould (35:25); Jane Perkins (35:36); Judith Hanlon (35:57); Sara Wills (36:00); Carol Blower (37:29); Tara Fagge (27:40); Helen West (37:43); Mary Donaldson (38:07); Delia Caruana (40:10); Louise Marsh (41:24).
The men had to travel further afield to Trentham, Stoke where the first dilemma they had to face was whether to don their cross country spikes or go for a trail shoe. The course was a mixture of trail and the more expected off road which saw runners face a number of steep hills as they raced in and around an old quarry site. 28 LCAC members took part with the ever reliable Callum Hanlon coming home first for the club in a spectacular 17th position (35:43). Paul Andrew was second in 26th position (26:23) with Simeon Howson and Phil Gould coming in only 11 seconds apart of each other in 39th and 42nd respectively (37:22, 37.33). The scoring team were made up of the fresh faced Lewis Fagge (38:20; 55th) and Kieran Chahal (38:38, 64th) who have been a real bonus to the team having moved up from the junior category this year. The team were 6th overall which keeps them in 7th position with 2 races to go. The B team consisted of Jack Savage (39:50); Jonathan Brown (41:34); Gavin Fowler (42:30); John Knib (42:49) Ben Rajann (42:58) and Jason Hill (42:59) who finished 5th on the day, making them 6th overall in the B category. Other runners: Marc Curtis (43:27); Craig Bower (43:36); Dean Mawby (44:12); Steve Hundal (44:53); James Joyce (44:58); Garrath Schule (45:30); Simon Perkins (45:35); Simon West (46:32); Andrew Higgins (47:37); Nick Tawney (49:32); Steve Roberts (49:57); Paolo Foglini (51:12); Peter Stockbridge (52:21); Alex Montgomery (54:06); Roger Fagge (54:14); Sagar Depala (57:26).