Leamington and Kenilworth mix it with the best at Inter-Counties

Laura Pettifer and Jenny Jeeves
Laura Pettifer and Jenny Jeeves

Six Leamington C&AC athletes and four Kenilworth Runners represented Warwickshire in the Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships on Saturday.

With the snow melting into the ground along with the additional rain that fell on Friday, conditions underfoot at Prestwold Hall, near Loughborough, were certainly challenging.

Mel Gould

Mel Gould

Tents were pitched amid mud that resembled a thick chocolate milkshake and the course saw runners splashing through thick patches of wet mud and battling against slippery conditions.

The day kicked off with the under-20 men’s race which saw C&AC’s Kieran Chahal and Greg West making the team. The 8k course ensured both men came back covered from head to toe in mud but in a very satisfying 61st position for Chahal and 78th for West.

Next up was Mel Gould in the under-13 girls’ race and she ran strongly over the 3k course to finish 194th in a time of 17min 6sec. Leamington clubmate Cian McKearney ran in the under-17 6k race, finishing 224th in 25:56 as Kenilworrth Runners’ Adam Houghton (203rd in 25:14) gained the local bragging rights.

In the under-20 women’s race, run over 6k, Bella Doxey finished 150th in 34:49.

Local friendly rivalry became team companionship in the ladies’ senior race as Leamington’s Jenny Jeeves and Kenilworth’s Laura Pettifer were delighted to be making their Warwickshire debuts together.

On the 8k course, Jeeves finished 174th in 41:25 and Pettifer 196th in 42:10 out of 270 finishers to make up the county’s fourth and sixth counters.

Leamington’s Callum Hanlon ran in the senior men’s race, covering the 12k course in 47:52 to finish 84th, with Paddy Roddy, now second claim to Kenilworth, 129th in 49:28.

Leamington C&AC’s Natalie Bhangal produced a six-second personal best at the Milton Keynes 20-mile road race on Sunday to finish second female.

Bhangal clocked 2hr 17min 43sec to finish 50th overall.

Six Kenilworth Runners also took part, with Lee Harrison 33rd in a new PB of 2:13:00.

He was followed by Jane Kidd who was 182nd overall and third LV55 in a PB of 2:37:51, which is the second fastest UK time in 2018 by a lady over 60.

Mel Knight was 247th in 2:44:02 and was followed by Daniel Lawrence (279th in 2:46:07) and Linda Fullaway (282nd in 2:46:23).

Sophie Cookson completed the Kenilworth contingent in 526th in 3:08:31.

The race was won by Daniel Robinson of BRAT in 1:53:23 and there were 939 finishers.

On Saturday, Spa Striders’ Mel Venables completed the Haworth Hobble, a 31.7-mile trail race in Haworth, West Yorkshire in 5:18:01.

Venables finished third lady and first FV40.

Leamington C&AC’s Paul Andrew led from the start to win the Draycote Water 10k, the final race of five in a winter series around the reservoir.

Andrew clocked 33min 57sec to finish almost three minutes clear of Long Eaton Running Club’s Paul Allcock.

Clubmate Alex Montgomery ran his best 10k time for more than two years to finish 43rd in 46:30.

Three Spa Striders took part, with Gethyn Friswell running a new 10k personal best of 40:51 and Pete Teevan and Claire Westrope clocking 42:31 and 51:19, respectively.

Kenilworth Runners’ Neil Sheward was tenth in 40:29, with clubmate Anthony Young a place and 19 seconds back.

Louise Andrews (45:07) was first LV45, with Kenilworth clubmate Craig Phillips clocking 46:12 for 45th.

There were 221 finishers.

Three Kenilworth Runners travelled to Fradley, near Lichfield, for the annual 10k race.

The fast and flat two-lap course from the village hall was held in ideal cool conditions.

Sam Moffatt clocked 55:31 for 395th, with Tom Dable 462nd in 58:17 and wife Pauline 540th in 61:12.

The race was won by Matthew Messon of Birchfield Harriers in 33:06 and there were 768 finishers.

Two Kenilworth Runners took part in the Wrexham Festival of Running on Sunday and both won their categories in their respective races.

Martin Dorrill ran in the 20-mile race, finishing 30th overall and first V50 in 2hr 19min 5sec, while Dave Pettifer ran the full marathon, finishing 60th overall and first MV65 in 3:41:15, putting him in 
the UK top three MV65 marathon rankings for the year.