Leamington C&ACs Chris Hitchman was awarded the prized World Major Marathons Six Star medal at the end of his recent New York marathon run, finishing in 3:30:25. Although a dis-appointing time for Hitchman, who struggled in the later stages of the race, the medal is a significant milestone in his running career, with less than 5000 runners worldwide holding the medal. With three times under 3 hours, his best in Berlin 02:55:03 (2012), Hitchman’s cumulative time of 18hrs 42 mins places him in the top 250 of medal holders. With other qualifying races Boston 02:58:23 (2013), Chicago 02:58:37 (2013), London 03:06:02 (2010) and Tokyo 03:13:59 (2014)
Leamington C&AC seemed to take their promotions to Division One in their stride at the weekend the men finishing 7th and the ladies finishing 4th.
The men’s team had not competed in the first division since 2005/6, when they only lasted one season, and it would be fair to say that some of the runners seemed daunted by racing amongst the best in the league at Pittville Park on Saturday. However, the 30-strong team held their own. Callum Hanlon finished first for the team in 21st position in a time of 33:49, followed by seasoned cross-country runners Paul Andrew (34:54); Simeon Howson (35:30) and Phil Gould (35:42) with Kieran Chahal (36:19) and Lewis Fagge (36:52) making up the A team. Chahal and Fagge, along with team mates Greg West (38:42) and Alex Ibbs (41:46) gave an added boost to the team as they came of age to run with the seniors men. The foursome have long been seen as winning potential, having scored highly in youth leagues, and their positioning on Saturday showed true credit to the club’s coaching and training teams. West was also fifth counter for the B team which also finished in 7th place on Saturday. West was supported by Dean Mawby (another success of the clubs youth structure) who had a fantastic race finishing as first counter for the B team in 36:55. Dominic Hull (37:53); Richard Merrell (38:00); Jack Savage (38:28) and Gavin Fowler (39:49) made up the strong B team.
Other runners:- John Knibb (40:32); Marc Curtis (40:42); Craig Bower (40:53); Tristen Warren (41:15); Steve Hundal (41:18); Jason Hill (41:31); Jordan King (41:42); James Joyce (43:03); Simon Perkin (43:11); Robert Wilson (43:37); Brian Miller (43:49); Andrew Higgins (45:06); Peter Stockbridge (45:36); Steve Roberts (46:17); Alex Montgomery (49:56); Sagar Depala (50:17); Graham Roberts (54:25)
The ladies headed to Coundon Park, Coventry for the first fixture of the Midland’s Womens Cross Country League, a 2-lap course which saw rather boggy conditions for November as well as a challenging wooded section. The atmosphere at the Leamington C&AC tent was high, with a boost in numbers recently from new recruits and familiar faces. The team had an added boost by existing members Mary Donaldson and Sara Wills donning their cross-country spikes for the first time in a while, both being used to the sprints section of the athletics club. Saffia Del Torre also joined the club for the first time, having competed as a junior. People could be forgiven for thinking the team was not taking the race too seriously as their warm up seemed to be chasing team manager and coach Jimmy Atkins around the field whilst he pushed his son in the pram and there seemed to be lots of preparation of their “prosecco tent” for afterwards, but once the race was underway, there was no illusions as to what the ladies had gone there to do. Kelly Edwards, suffering from a slight illness and lack of sleep due to having 6-month-old twins and a poorly toddler, ran a strong race finishing 29th overall in 27:23. Zara Blower (33rd, 27:49); Monica Williamson (34th, 27:57) and Jenny Jeeves (38th, 28:03) were not far behind and nicely packed together to give the team the needed points to finish 4th overall. With Edwards, Williamson and Jeeves also being of an age to qualify for masters status, it was not that surprising that with Wendy Daniels coming home next in 47th (28:33) the masters finished in first place on the day.
Other runners:- Saffia Del Torre (29:59); Courtney Thornberry (30:46); Shamira Naidu-Young (32:24); Eve Walpole (32:35); Sara Atkins (33:17); Laura Gould (33:20); Sara Wills (34:26); Carol Blower (35:16); Wendy Woodhouse (35:19); Judith Hanlon (35:44); Emma Matthews (37:06); Tara Fagge (37:18); Mary Donaldson (37:44); Helen West (38:01); Delia Caruana (38:46); Louise Marsh (40:00).
The wet weather this weekend caused problems with the 64th Dovedale Dash on Sunday. The race was postponed for an hour as runners attempted to drive through boggy conditions into the car park, with runners finding their warm up mixed with the odd pushing of vehicles out of the mud. 5 Leamington C&AC runners took part in the 4 ¾ mile event which sees runners racing down the steep slope of Thorpe Cloud in Derbyshire to cross the river at the famous “stepping stones”. Whilst some choose to balance across the stones, most runners choose the wetter option and run through the water. Phil Gould was first home for the club in 12th place in a time of 30:58. The race played to Gould’s strengths being particularly muddy with a one mile climb back up Thorpe Cloud to the finish. Gould’s son James, who just scraped the over 10 age restriction by a month, showed amazing resolve by finishing only 12 minutes after his dad in a time of 42:40. Mel Gould, who at 12 is already a seasoned cross country runner, showed her usual strength finishing in a time of 46:25 with her mum, Laura, settling for being last of the Gould family in a time of 51:13. Simon Perkin, who was a familiar face at this event, finished in a time of 38:56.
Saturday saw the second event of the Gloucester Cross Country League with 9 Leamington C&AC runners heading to Charlton Park. Paul Andrew ran a fine race, finishing 8th overall, in a time of 36:40. Marc Curtis (41:57); Steve Howes (42:54); Steve Roberts (48:52); Tony Foster (50:37) and Alex Montgomery (52:20) all raced. Jenny Jeeves showed her usual fine form in the ladies’ race, finishing 21st overall in a time of 30:14. New member Caroline Coward was the only other lady from the club who ran, finishing in 33:26. Graham Roberts ran the MV65 race and finished in a time of 36:31.
Chris Hitchman headed to New York to take part in the marathon this week finishing the race in 3:30:25
‘Now that’s what I call a stream crossing ? proper cross country running!!’ – Laura Gould from the Dovedale Dash