Leamington C&AC celebrated a number of successes at the Warwickshire cross country county championships on Saturday with 3 gold team prizes, an individual gold, 2 silvers and a bronze, with a total of 57 runners representing the Leamington based club. Runners experienced a new venue at HMP Newbold Revel, a relatively flat course with a mixture of grass, wooded areas and fields with a hill of note for some of the older runners. As in previous years runners were pitched alongside the Worcestershire Championships.
The first event of the day was the Under 13 Boys race. The team finished 7th with steady running from all runners. James Gould, an U11 in league races, was first home with a good run in 18th well supported by Harry Bailey 24th, Jonathan Ingram 32nd, Diarmuid Winston 35th and Finnley Newey 36th. The U13 Girls team finished in a creditable 5th place with Ila Lane and Isabelle Goold, two more U11’s just old enough to run in the U13 race, running together for 24th and 25th with Megan Marsh in 40th. In the Under 15 Boys Jai Sispal produced the only junior medal of the day with a strong run for Silver. Ruaric Winston was 29th. The Under 15 Girls were missing several runners but strong running from Melanie Gould 13th, Molly Minshull 18th and Saffie Chibba 20th produced a pleasing team 6th place.
The under 20 men’s team dominated their 6k race with Baljeev Kandola finishing in 3rd position and gaining an individual bronze award. Greg West was not far behind in 5th position and Dominic Priest was 7th. Alex Ibbs took 14th place with Niall Salmon in 20th. With Kandola, West and Priest scoring for the club, the young men took an easy victory and claimed the gold team award.
13 Ladies ran for the local club with Natalie Bhangal back first in 15th position (12th for Warwickshire). Jenny Jeeves was 19th, and more worthy of note was second master runner gaining her a silver medal. Zara Blower was 26th with Wendy Daniels just behind in 27th (5th masters) and Sue Harrison in 33rd (8th master). Saffia del Torre finished 38th pushing the masters’ ladies team into first place with Jeeves, Daniels, Harrison and del Torre all scoring. With such a strong masters team, it was left to Courtney Depala to finish off the senior ladies team coming in in 61st place to leave the senior team in 5th place.
The masters men also claimed victory in the race with Paul Andrew also taking individual gold in the category. Andrew finished 21st overall with Phil Gould taking the 6th place in the masters’ league. Iain McLaughlin and Vassilis Andreoulakis finishing one behind the other to make up the winning masters team. Callum Hanlon was first home for the club, running a strong race and finishing 5th for the county, with Rich Hood in 24th and Dean Mawby (29th) and Joshua Hough (41st) putting the seniors team in 4th place.
Leamington C&AC young athletes had a busy weekend this weekend with some of the squad competing on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday saw the Inter Counties School Cross Country Championships in which 6 of the club’s athletes had qualified to represent Warwickshire. The recent rains had made the course, in Winsford, Cheshire, slightly boggy and with driving ran for most of the day the athletes were certainly put through their paces, the rain easing and a rainbow appearing after they had all finished running. Jai Sispal represented the Intermediate Boys and came 38th overall with Mel Gould representing the Junior Girls, finishing 66th. The Intermediate girls had club mates Emily and Ana Lovett, Molly Minshull and Rosie Cale in the team, with each girl battling it out between themselves. Emily finished first out of the group in 34th place with Molly close behind in 38th. Ana crossed the line in 51st position and Rose Cale in 62nd. Sunday saw a rematch between the girls at the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country at Perry Park, Birmingham. The Lovett twins, Molly Minshull and Mel Gould, who all train together at Leamington C&AC have a friendly rivalry which saw the 4 girls pushing each other around the two lap course, in the shadow of Alexander Stadium. Minshull, had a point to prove and came home first for the girls team in 22nd position with Ana Lovett close behind on 29th. Sister Emily was 4 places back in 33rd place and Mel 37th. Saffia Chiba made up the team finishing in 49th. The Under 17 women’s race started the day in Birmingham with Rosie Cale having a strong run, despite running for her county the day before. Cale finished 19th with Georgina Hurt in 29th and Rositsa Gugutkova in 31st. The under 11 boys saw healthy competition between club mates James Gould and Louis Proctor, Proctor sat on Gould’s tail around the one lap course and Gould had to work hard to keep him off. Gould finished 18th after a strong uphill finish with Proctor coming in 29th. Ishan Carson also ran and finished 59th. Other runners: U11girls: Caitlin French (19); Madeleine Lim (58); Chloe Lovett (103). U15boys; Ruairc Winston (57). U13girls: Mariele Proctor (59); Alice Lim (59); Megan Marsh (105). U13boys: Diarmuid Winston (69)
The first of December saw Leamington C&AC runners take on their second race of the cross country league season. The club sent 28 men to Warley Woods, Birmingham, to take part in the Birmingham league in what was a twisting course. Despite numbers growing in the club, the team were missing some of their faster runners and are dangerously close to the relegation zone after the second fixture. Paul Andrew was first home for the club in a respectable 52nd position, with Phil Gould managing to stay in double figures this time round finishing 81st. Greg West and Dominic Priest finished 102nd and 122nd respectively with Iain McLaughlin (124th) and Vassilis Andreoulakis (129th) making up the a team. Gavin Fowler (169th); Charlie Staveley (173rd); Jason Hill (182nd); Dean Mawby (185th); Jeremy Coward (197th) and Richard Merrell (206th) scored for the B team results putting them in 12th out of 13th.
Leamington C&AC ladies were closer to home at the Welcombe Hills outside Stratford-upon-Avon. A “proper cross country course” saw a 2 lap course with 3 steep climbs per lap and even the flat bits could be considered undulating. Kelly Edwards was on usual fine form, finishing 8th overall and taking first place for the masters team. Like their male counter-parts, they were missing a number of stronger runners but this did not seem to defeat the team with Jenny Jeeves coming in 31st position and also counting towards the masters points. Zara Blower, was third home for the club with Saffia Del Torre coming in final counter for the overall team prize and for the masters team which left the ladies 7th overall and maintaining first position in the masters league.