Kenilworth Runners finished sixth men’s team in the Midland Counties Cross-country Championships at Loughborough on Saturday.
With the original designated course of Stafford Common waterlogged, Wreake Runners stepped in with just fours days to go, finding a suitable course on a disused airfield at Prestwold Hall.
A biting wind-chill greeted the 20 Kenilworth Runners who took on a spectator- friendly 12k course which proved a demanding test on soft, boggy and very glutenous mud.
Phil Gould, suited to the muddy and hilly conditions, was first home for Kenilworth in 30th position in 41min 46sec, with Kev Hope 43rd in 42:39 and Stephen Page 48th in 42:48.
Jake Watson was the first Leamington C&AC athlete home in 43:01 for 53rd, with Garrath Schule (44:30) 76th.
C&AC finished 17th overall.
The race was won by Alex Brecker of City of Stoke in 37:22.
Selected others (Kenilworth Runners unless stated): 85, Marc Curtis (45:10); 112, Eoin O’Flynn (Leamington C&AC, 46:42); 120, Matt Dyer (47:05); 140, Gavin Fowler (Leamington C&AC, 48:05); 152, Dave Ramus (48:45); 162, Neil Sheward (49:13); 179, Stewart Underhill (49:54); 239, Richard Steel (53:08); 308, Rupe Chahal (Leamington C&AC, 60:22); 312, Pavan Ayyalasomayajula (60:50); 311, Graham Roberts (Leamington C&AC, 60:48); 329, Tom Dable (64:38); 335, Sagar Depala (66:03); 348, Stef Shillington (69:07).
In the ladies’ 8k race, Louise Andrews was first home for Kenilworth, finishing 57th in a time of 34:58.
She was followed by Courtney Thornberry (65th in 35:43), with Sara Habib (86th in 37:35), Ros Brooks (88th in 37:45) and Laura Gould (89th in 37:46) working well to finish within 11 seconds of each other.
Kenilworth’s ladies’ team finished 13th out of the 25 completed teams but were pipped by just a place by Leamington.
Just over a minute separated C&AC’s first three women, with Zara Blower clocking 33:20 for 45th, closely followed by Jenny Jeeves (37th in 33:30) and Angela Chahal (54th in 34:45).
Carol Blower (42:43) completed the Leamington team.
The race was won by Jane Potter of Charnwood AC in 27:29.
Selected other Kenilworth Runners: 106, Suzy Lovett (39:08); 152, Pauline Dable (44:03).
Leamington C&AC’s young athletes produced strong performance at the championships, gaining two top-15 finishes against strong opposition.
Jai Sispal produced his best club performance in the under-13 boys’ event, clocking 13:32 for the 3k course to finish tenth.
Dan Wilkinson showed a welcome return to form after injury, crossing the line a creditable 12th in the under-17 men’s race, run over 6k, in 24:30.
The remainder of the under-17 men again showed their strength by packing closely behind Wilkinson.
Kieran Chahal ran strongly for 23rd in 25:22 with the improving Greg West 32nd in 25:57 and Toby Loveday 36th in 25:57.
Bal Kandola was 41st in 26:36 and Alex Ibbs 47th in 27:17.
The team were rewarded with an excellent third place behind Leicester Coritanians and Coventry Godiva in the overall table.
The under-13 girls ran with their usual determination to finish with good middle-order placings.
Rosie Cale led Leamington C&AC home in 53rd in 16:12, closely followed by Emily Lovett (56th in 16:16), Amber Ballard (60th in 16:25), Alice Parsons (76th in 17:26) and Ana Lovett (78th in 17:31) to earn the team a ninth-placed finish.
Issy Davis, still troubled by a long-term knee problem, ran well for 28th in 25:08 in the under-17 ladies’ race.
Matthew Chambers had a good run on the 4k course for under-15 boys, coming home 45th in 20:17.
Georgina and Larissa Hurt both had strong races in the under-15 girls’ race, with Georgina 52nd in 22:53 and Larissa just eight seconds and two places back.
Charlie Parsons was 91st in the under-13 boys’ event in 17:21.