Harriers crowned county cross country champions
Local runners had a highly successful time at the Lincolnshire County Cross Country Championships on Sunday, with Bourne Town Harriers boasting two county champions and Nene Valley Harriers three.
The race took place on a sunny but chilly new course in the centre of the Lincolnshire Wolds at Biscathorpe. Many of the older athletes described the course as a true cross country, three river crossings, muddy hills and the whole route undulating. Nene Valley Vets athlete Paul Parkin described the course as the toughest 10km he could remember running and it was a far cry from the flat parkland course used for the Cambridgeshire Championships.
The muddy hill as the athletes completed the third river crossing paid its toll on the athletes as many struggled with it but Nene Valley’s Cat Foley used this to her benefit in the senior ladies race. She stormed the hill and into the woods to take the lead and never looked back over this tricky part of the course crossing the line as a comfortable county champion. Nene’s Grace Mullins in one of her first events following injury also finished strongly well clear in third place.
Nene Valley’s Niam Payne was another athlete who found the tough conditions to their suiting pulling away from the field on the first lap of the under 17 men’s race and continuing to cope with the conditions to also become county champion. As with Grace, Austin Herbert supported his Nene Valley team mate with a county bronze medal holding on well for his third place.
This set the Nene team up for the win with Bradley Allen supporting the leaders well. The ‘B’ team didn’t hang around either with Nathaniel Taylor (7th), Nathan Davey (12th) and Will Baker (13th) taking a well deserved silver team medal.
In the senior ranks, Bourne Town’s Suzie Brownlow became county champion by winning the ladies veteran race. She is now eligible for county selection for the Inter County senior race. The club’s other senior representative was Steven Sheppard who was 21st in the men’s senior race.
Grantham AC’s Bourne-based Chris Hunt finished in 37th in the Vet men’s race.
The most dominant performance as a team, and showing the strength that Nene Valley have in depth, were the under 20 men.
Nene Valley had entered four athletes and they took all four top places in the race. Jake Richardson skimmed over the wet surface finishing strongly among the leading athletes in the race to win his county championship. This race is run along with the senior men and vet men and although the overall team place could not be verified they would have been close to a silver senior team medal. Jake was followed in by James McRae in silver medal position and Alex Hampson with his bronze medal.
The course was tough on middle distance athlete Brad Spurdens but his spirited fight for fourth place confirmed the team’s dominance.
Bourne Town’s Beth Howells secured county selection by placing second in the women’s under 20 event.
Under 15 girl, Hana Ray (Nene Valley) won a bronze medal again proving the toughness of the youngster. Her team including Paula Naylor (7th) and Ffion Lewis (13th) won silver team medal. Bourne Town’s Abi Cooper is eligible for county selection after finishing 11th in the same race.
Also winning team medals for Nene Valley were the under 15 boys team of Nandeli Pelembe (8th), Ethan Ellison (9th) and Codi Leigh Middleton (11th) who were well grouped to take second spot.
Bourne-based Grantham AC runner Aaron Hunt finished second in the under 15 boys race with Grantham winning the team race.
Bourne Town’s Toby Everist was 16th pace.
Brother Cameron Everist was fourth in the men’s under 17 event a place ahead of team mate Scott Taylor who was fifth. Both are now likely to be selected to represent Lincolnshire.
The Nene Valley under 17 ladies team of Megan Ellison (6th) suffering with exam tiredness, Alice Callcut (9th) and Hermoine Wright (10th) also got a silver medal.
Bourne Town Harriers runner Molly Bennett was close behind in 12th place in the under 17s race, one place behind Grantham Athletics Club’s Bourne-based runner Saskia Hunt in 11th.
Pride of place in the junior ranks for Bourne Town Harriers went to Molly Peel who became county champion in the 3.5k girls under 13 race. She was followed home by Elin James in fourth place.
Both girls are likely to be selected to represent Lincolnshire in the forthcoming National Inter Counties Championships. In the same event Maisie Brownlow was 15th, Grace Tidman was 17th and Ellie Peel finished in a credible 21st.
In the boys under 13 race Bourne Town’s Matthew Colman almost certainly secured county selection by finishing in fifth place. Max James is also eligible for selection courtesy of his eighth place.