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Cross Country Round Up 10th Feb

12 Feb 2024 | BY Ross Connor

Cross Country Round Up – Saturday 10th February 2024

The 4th and final fixtures were held for both the Midland Women’s Cross Country League and the Birmingham & District Men’s League. City of Stoke AC have teams in the 1st Divisions of both Leagues. This is a great and proud achievement given that they are among the top 2 or 3 Leagues in the Country. The Women were lying in 5th place (out of 18) after 3 races, and they were also in 1st place in the Masters ranking. In race 4 at Burton Dassett, we had 6 runners of whom 3 were returning from injury. All 6 raced brilliantly with Donna Sherwin coming home in a season’s best 10th position. This also secured her a silver medal in the Masters’ results. Next home saw Nia Nokes in 28th position despite still recovering from a persistent cold. This also gave her the bronze medal in the Masters rankings. Vic Hughes has had a torrid few months with injuries and it was great to see her run so strongly to come home as our 3rd counter in 64th place, just pipping Amanda Kelly on the run in. Amanda has been a fantastic addition to our team, and her 65th position was by far the best of the season. Another returning after many setbacks was Sarah Mackness, who despite nursing a damaged ankle was only 2 places behind in 67th. Finally, another making a welcome return was Mandy Vernon and despite worrying that she may not make it ran superbly for 69th. The season ended with the team a fantastic 5th and only a handful of points off 3rd but achieving Masters Team Gold, and individual Masters silver and bronze.

Further east the men were competing in Northampton and were lying mid table after 3 races. However, halfway through the week we were without a full team and facing automatic relegation. The guys were determined not to let this happen and by race day we turned out a full team, and 2/3 of these were nursing niggles. The remit was to 1 – run controlled, 2 – get all 6 round and 3 – stay in Division 1. All three targets were achieved and another season in the topflight procured. Our 1st home was Vinnie Martin who came home in 16th place, which is the highest he has ever come. Matt Eardley was next home in 74th with Ashley Dennett following in 87th. James Condlyffe is on the comeback trail and his 98th was a credible return. Benji Ross has been a strong addition to our squad and stepped up to the plate to set aside achilles issues and run strongly for 107th. Our final counter was Ross Connor who ran very conservatively to ensure he got round and secured a full team. His 140th was far off what he’s capable of, but it did exactly what was needed on the day.

Coach Report: Kevin Hendricken