The second race of this year’s Gloucester XC League was a far cry from the traditional cross-country course, taking place on the predominately flat, dry playing fields of Crypt School at Blackbridge in Gloucester.
Favouring the speed merchants from road and track, the restrictions placed on the organisers resulted in the senior men running two short laps and three long laps which saw them pass the finish on five occasions.
Oliver Mott from Cheltenham Harriers sped around the 9k in 28min 33sec with a further 224 finishers behind him.
Phil Gould, Leamington C&AC’s new senior men’s captain, led the red, white and blues throughout for 16th (30:29),with debutant Simeon Howson stalking him for most of the course without being able to get on to Phil’s shoulder.
Nevertheless, it was a very satisfying race all the same with Howson one place and 20 seconds back.
Fellow Leamington C&AC athlete Gavin Fowler ran a steady race for 59th (33:04), with the team completed byveterans all the wrong side of 50.
Steve Howes was 82nd in 34:22, with Brian Miller 118th in 35:47 and Nick Tawney 123rd in 35:55.
Graham Garlick warmed up with a parkrun in the morning in order to get some hills in and found the flat expanse of the school not to his liking as he came in 148th in 37:01.
Graham Roberts completed the Leamington contingent, coming home 223rd in 49:40.
Kenilworth Runners’ men finished fifth masters’ team with Dewi Williams producing a fine run of 32:35 to come in 45th.
Kenilworth Runners finishers: 45, Dewi Williams (32:35); 54, Wayne Briggs (32:50); 60, Matt Dyer (33:11); 73, Marc Curtis (33:55); 91, Roger Homes (34:53); 105, Richard Broadbent (35:20); 106, Richard Steel (35:22); 159, Stewart Underhill (37:35); 203, John Dagnan (42:06); 205, Pavan Ayyalasomayajula (42:10); 220, Tom Dable (46:46).
In the ladies’ race of just 6.8k it was again the track stars who would have enjoyed this more than the toughies who prefer some hills breaking up the terrain.
Jenny Jeeves (28:01) led the C&AC trio home in 27th in a race won by Sophie Tothill of Worcester in 25:19 (24th in the hilly first race a few weeks previously).
Ros Brooks held off Leamington clubmate Laura Gould to make it one apiece in their own private battle this season, coming home 63rd in 31:19, with Gould four places and six seconds adrift.
In the under-17 men’s race, Leamington C&AC runners came second, fourth, seventh and ninth courtesy of Dan Wilkinson (14:20), Greg West (14:28), Alex Ibbs (14:36) and Kieran Chahal (14:47) to claim the team prize.
Kenilworth Runners were first in the under-15 boys’ race, with Felix Lunn (third in 15:02), Oliver Lunn (fifth in 15:05) and Oliver Flippance (seventh in 15:15) their scoring runners.
Clubmate Cameron Williams-Stein was tenth in 15:35, while Leamington C&AC’s Will Eadon came home 14th in 16:17.
In the girls’ under-13 event, Leamington C&AC’s Mel Gould was a fine fifth in 13:45, missing out on the top three by just seven seconds.
Kenilworth Runners results: Boys: Under-17s: 16, Ryan Baker (18:38). Under-15: 3, Felix Lunn (15:02); 5, Oliver Lunn (15:05); 7, Oliver Flippance (15:15); 10, Cameron Williams-Stein (15:35); 23, Jacob Watson (18:54).
Girls: Under-13s: 41, Florence Lunn (16:45); 46, Tabitha Lunn (17:57).
On Saturday at Newbold Comyn, Leamington C&AC are hosting both the Midland Ladies’ Cross-country and the Men’s Birmingham League Division Two, with races starting at 1.30pm.
Spectators are welcome.