Leamington maintain their promotion challenge with a Welcombe victory

Callum Hanlon and Andy Savery are prominent for Leamington C&AC in the second race in the Birmingham League.
Callum Hanlon and Andy Savery are prominent for Leamington C&AC in the second race in the Birmingham League.

The second race of the Birmingham Cross-country League saw Leamington C&AC consolidate their position at the top of Division Two to keep alive their hopes of a first appearance in the top flight since 2005/06.

Clopton Park on the outskirts of Stratford and the rolling terrain of Welcombe Hills provided the venue, with the men running three laps for approximately 10k.

Spa Striders' men.

Spa Striders' men.

Leamington were in buoyant mood after their first race at Newbold Comyn last month and, with a return to fitness of Andy Savery, they returned an even more impressive total to lead the division by 38 points.

Winner of the opening race, Callum Hanlon and Savery were always in contention in the lead group, with Hanlon (34min 7sec) second and Savery (34:38) fourth behind Paul Ward of Telford, who won in 33:50.

There was good packing from club captain Phil Gould (11th in 35:26), a fast-finishing Jamie Langley (12th in 35:33) and Simeon Howson, just 30 seconds back in 18th, with final scorer Guy Allen 37th in 37:48.

Leamington also showed their strength in depth to comfortably win the B team event for runners placed seventh to 12th.

The scoring athletes for Leamington were packed into 29 places and within 90 seconds of each other, with Jack Savage 40th (41:03), George Loveday 42nd (38:01), Sam Wadsworth 48th (38:30) and Dean Mawby 52nd (38:43) all members who have come through the youth ranks.

Making up the six were Eoin O’Flynn (38:57) and Gavin Fowler (39:25).

Selected others: 102, Henry Rawnsley (41:03); 129, Robert Wilson (42:23); 142, Brian Miller (43:07); 151, Paul Caruana (43:41); 155, Nick Tawney (44:09); 163, Jack Gammon (44:34); 167, Graham Garlick (45:00); 194, Andrew Higgins (47:14); 205, Steve Roberts (48:35); 221, Rupe Chahal (52:11); 236, Graham Roberts (56:02).

One hour early on the same course but over two laps, Leamington’s ladies finished second behind Cannock & Staffordshire who leapfrogged their rivals at the head of the Midland XC League Division Two.

Triathlete Megan McDonald improved on her first race position to finish eighth in 27:26, with Zara Blower (14th in 27:55) pipping clubmate Jenny Jeeves by just a place and five seconds.

Stepping up to complete the team was Courtney Thornberry (38th in 30:22).

The Division Two race was won by Jennifer Nesbitt from Worcester AC in 24:07.

Selected others: 45, Faye Barr (31:03); 49, Eve Walpole (31:29); 69, Charlie Mitchell (32:59); 73, Ros Brooks (33:02); 86, Sarah Price (33:32); 103, Laura Gould (34:12); 116, Robyn McDowall (35:04); 171, Delia Caruana (39:33).

In Division One, a 14-strong squad helped Spa Striders to seventh place.

Charlotte Everard (27:33) displayed strong hill-climbing to finish 27th overall, well clear of Carolyn Wilkinson (37th in 28:59), Fiona Edwards (43rd in 29:24) and Kate Gadsby (44th in 29:25) who completed the scoring team.

Kenilworth finished tenth.

Selected finishers (Kenilworth Runners unless stated): 22, Sarah Rose (27:12); 47, Laura Pettifer (29:39); 49, Caroline Whitehouse (Spa Striders, 29:59), 64, Susie Stannard (Spa Striders, 31:10); 70, Stef Lunn (31:34); 72, Kelly Burnett-Nicholl (31:51); 74, Anne Hurrell (Spa Striders, 32:06); 77, Lucy Tugwell (Spa Striders, 32:12); 90, Helene Wright (Spa Striders, 33:56); 92, Ruth Tennant (Spa Striders, 33:59); 99, Jude Baum (Spa Striders, 34:56); 100, Elisse Breugelmans (35:07); 101, Clare Bryan (Spa Striders, 35:18); 103, Daniella Apagyi (35:24); 104, Lorraine Parsons (Spa Striders, 35:25); 108, Emma Bish (Spa Striders, 36:02); 111, Kerrie Flippance (36:33); 113, Linda Fullaway (36:58); 114, Carla Fuste (38:49); 118, Pauline Dable (40:39); 120, Jodie Angold (42:26); 124, Gail Bates (47:04).

Kenilworth Runners slipped into the relegation zone in Birmingham League Division One after key absences saw them finish 15th out of 16 teams at Sandwell Valley Park.

Stephen Page was first home for Kenilworth (65th), followed by Kev Hope (80th in 34:23) and Stuart Hopkins (103rd in 35:09).

Three Kenilworth Runners taking on cross-country for the first time this year performed well with Andy Crabtree fourth counter in 35:56 and Will Barber (38:51) and Nick Williams (39:52) coping well with a deceptively difficult course.

Selected others: 126, Dewi Williams (36:02); 132, Wayne Briggs (36:10); 139, Matt Dyer (36:33); 145, Steve Marr (36:45); 152, Marc Curtis (37:05); 178, Pete Bryan (38:11); 209, Simon Corley (39:39); 218, Richard Steele (40:08); 224, Stewart Underhill (40:26); 239, Colin Bailey (41:36); 270, Tom Dable (59:00).

Spa Striders’ men continued their strong start to the Birmingham League Division Three campaign by finishing third A team and second B team at Plock Court, Gloucester. Captain Paul Edwards (33:27) was fourth overall, with team-mates Ste Taylor (33:45) and Chris McKeown (33:54) taking 12th and 14th, respectively. The A team was completed by Adam Notley (34:46) and Rich Sykes (35:07).

Selected others: Dan Fleming (35:30), Dan Stannard (35:39), Simon Parsons (36:09), Keith Wilson (36:52), Rob Thompson (37:47), Gethyn Friswell (38:43), Stuart Lee (39:06), Doug Rattray (41:23), Matt Leydon (42:06), Andy Pope (42:48).

Kenilworth Runners’ Neil Sheward continued his fine form by finishing 16th at the Centurion 5 on Sunday, the second race of six in the series at Babbs Mill Lake in Chelmsley Wood.

The race is run over two-and-a-half laps on footpaths and gravel track, with Sheward clocking 31min 7sec for the first V50 prize.

Martin Dorrill was the next of the eight Kenilworth Runners to finish, coming home in 31:57 for 20th.

Louise Andrews was the second female in 35:28.

Other Kenilworth Runners finishers: 43, Dave Pettifer (36:00); 62, Debbie Streets (39:15); 74, Samantha Moffatt (42:02); 98, Pauline Dable (44:33); 101, Tom Dable (46:18).

Kenilworth Runners’ Neil Smith completed the Cardington Cracker fell race in 1:59:02, finishing 171st out of 252.

The race was a distance of nine miles with 2,600 feet of climb in the Shropshire Hills.

Four Kenilworth Runners enjoyed a grand day out at the Bedford Half on Sunday with an undulating course providing breathtaking views of the Bedfordshire countryside.

For the ever-improving Mark Alldritt, his Coventry parkrun the day before proved ideal preparation for his time of 1hr 35min 51sec, while Sally Hicks’ approach of not even donning a pair of trainers in the fortnight since her Broadway Marathon also proved fruitful and gave her a new personal best of 1:49:34.

Aidan Keher (MV55) had a most enjoyable run (2:11:55), particularly when he spotted the half pints of beer on offer at mile ten, which gave him a real boost for the final push.

Anton Raath was pleased his lack of training had not deterred him from taking part and had a great training run of 1:58:29.

The race was won by David Hudson of BRJ Run & Tri in 74:04.