Leamington Cycling & Athletic Club began 2020 with a strong performance at the Warwickshire XC Championships at Warley Woods on Saturday. A full event of races from U13’s up to and including Masters for both men and women saw the Red, white and blues secure a first Senior Women’s title since 2006 and second places for the men’s U20 and Men’s Masters.

Illness, injury and holiday commitments didn’t affect the strong belief that the senior ladies would be in the mix over an undulating and surprisingly dry course at Warley Woods in Birmingham. That showed to be the case when all five ladies finished in the top 13 runners and with only three to count in the team award it was this packing which ultimately secured the “Gold” for the club. Hannah Thorne in her first County race and only third XC race worked her way through the field after a conservative start to finish 5th in 21:43 and was supported by Megan McDonald 6th in 21:59 and Natalie Bhangal 9thin 22:17. The supporting members of Megan Rothman in her first XC race was pleased with her 10th placing in 22:31 and Zara Hadfield in 13th, 22:57 helped by demoting other club runners down the field.

The day had started off with the younger age groups in which Leamington could only muster just one team, U15 Girls of Mel Gould 22nd in 20:26, Eva Fitzpatrick 28th, 21:25 and Megan Marsh 31st 24:16 for 8th team place.New member Oliver Wetherall was the first club runner to finish on the day in the U13 Boys with a strong run for 13th (11:06) supported by James Gould 28th in 12:04. U15 Boys had Rauric Winston in 28th in 16:00 and Harry Bailey just 3 places and 17 seconds back. New member Emily Wilson was the only other junior running the U17 Womens race and finished 12th in 22:04.

There were high hopes for the U20 Men’s team in returning with a medal and they duly obliged with Bristol University student Dom Priest leading the three man team to silver with a 4th place in 19:15. Recent new member Frazer Knowles worked his way through towards the end for 8th, 21:08 and final member Alex Ibbs in 10th and 21:28.

Traditionally the big spectacles in terms of number of runners are the seniors and master races and the women masters running at the same time as the seniors, were attempting to retain their winning title from last year. Illness over the holiday period ensured that this challenge was just too big but the strength in depth still ensured a 4th placing with Monica Williamson’s 4th in 23:17, Jenny Jeeves after a recent injury ran strongly for 5th in 23:47 and Sara Atkins 46th in 28:22. Again the team was supported by Laura Gould 49th (28:35), Carol Blower 65th in 31:00 and Louise Marsh 77th in 32:45.

In the senior and masters mens races 4 are required to score and again due to no shows on the day only three completed the 6 mile course, Henry Morton was the first man home in the race with 13th in 31:45, Dean Mawby 18th in 33:09 and Josh Hough 33rd, 35:11.

Finally, the men’s masters, again attempting to retain the title from 2019, had 10 members finish with the scoring team of Paul Andrew 5th in 31:52, Phil Gould 10th 32:45, Bill Andreoulakis 13th 33:18 and a brilliant run by Stephen Hundal in 28th, 34:54 secured second team place. This was Hundal’s first County medal at the age of 50 to prove age is just a number! Again the “non-scorers” are just as important in knocking other teams runners down the placings especially Iain McLaughlin in 31st and just 4 seconds behind Hundal with Marc Curtis 41st, 36:18, Brian Miller 61st, 38:12, Steve Roberts 74th in 40:03 had a fine battle with Paul Caruana 76th 40:08 and another steady performance from Pete Taylor in 82nd(40:35).

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