A bumper turnout of 24 runners lifted Leamington C&AC’s men to tenth place in the opening race of the Birmingham League Division One Cross-Country season at Pittville Park in Cheltenham.
Teams faced three laps of the park including a stream crossing on each lap, with seasoned cross-country runner Phil Gould remarking on a “race of incredibly high standards this year”.
Nevertheless, despite the exalted opposition, C&AC’s Callum Hanlon put in a solid performance to finish 28th in 32min 44sec.
Paul Andrew was second home for the club and 68th overall in 33:55.
Second year senior Greg West (33:59) and Baljeev Kandola (34:48), making his senior debut, showed youth was on the club’s side as the finished 71st and 99th, respectively.
Gould (34:51) was 101st, with new recruit Iain McLaughlin completing the counters in 36:28 for 149th.
The B team also finished tenth on the day courtesy of Dom Priest (156th in 36:47), Dean Mawby (176th in 37:32), John Knibb (183rd in 38:03); Charlie Stavely (189th in 38:15); Jason Hill (195th in 38:31) and Marc Curtis (209th in 39:08).
The close packing continuing behind Curtis, with fellow C&AC athletes Craig Bower (210th in 39:09), Craig Biggerstaff (212th in 39:15) and new recruit Jeremy Coward (213th in 39:17) crossing the line in quick succession.
Kenilworth Runners have a bit to do if they are to maintain their top-flight status after finishing 13th of the 16 teams.
Ben Taylor was Kenilworth’s first counter, finishing 36th overall in a time of 33:00, with Kev Hope coming home 88th in 34:26.
The next four Kenilworth counters finished within the next 40 positions, with Andrew Siggers (115th in 35:17) followed home by Connor Carson (125th in 35:38), Andy Crabtree (136th in 35:58) and Dewi Williams (155th in 36:42).
Kenilworth’s B team were 12th, with Matt Dyer (171st in 37:22) joined in the scoring six by Nicholas Williams (179th in 37:41), Adam Houghton (184th in 38:08), Wayne Briggs (196th in 38:32), Bradlee Tod (205th in 38:59) and Dan Leng (226th in 39:47).
The race was won by Patrick Dever of Loughborough students in 30:26 and there were 300 finishers.
In the opening race of the Midland League Division One at Coundon, Coventry, Leamington C&AC benefited from three of their first four being veterans to take first place in the masters’ table.
Kelly Edwards produced her usual fine performance to finish 11th and second master in 21:28.
Jenny Jeeves pushed through the field to finish 37th and sixth master in 23:49, with Laura Fuller, who turned up with minutes to spare, running a solid race to finish 41st in 23:56.
Saffia Del Torre was the third Leamington masters’ athlete home and 50th overall in 24:22 to put the ladies in sixth position in the seniors table.
Zara Blower was 54th in 24:38.
Spa Striders were tenth overall, with their masters’ team, led home by Claire Murphy (5th master in 23:47) finishing runners-up to Leamington.
Fellow masters’ runners Jo Fleming (48th in 24:15), Laura Peake (54th in 24:34) and Clare Hinton (59th in 24:51) completed the senior counters.
Kenilworth Runners’ ladies completed a masters’ one-two-three for local clubs on their way to finishing 12th overall.
Sarah Rose continued her comeback from injury with 19th place in 22:25 and was joined in the counting four by Kelly Burnett Nicholl (75th in 25:34), Jane Phillips (79th in 25:55) and Stef Lunn (86th in 26:16), all fellow masters’ athletes.
The race was won by University of Birmingham’s Amelia Quirk in 20:14 and there were 201 finishers.
Spa Striders’ men gave themselves a fighting chance of staving off relegation from Birmingham League Division Two after finishing tenth of 14 teams in Worcester.
Club captain Chris McKeown was the first Strider over the line and 12th overall in 35min 51sec.
He was followed by Adam Notley (36:40), Steve Taylor (38:45), Ben Parkinson (41:14), Pete Teevan (41:18) and Rich Sykes (41:57).
McKeown had previously maintained his fine form with victory in the first race of the Leicester 5k Winter Series.
McKeown crossed the line in 17:11, with fellow Strider Tim Beresford fourth in 18:36.