The first major cross country race of the 2016-17 season took place on Saturday 05 November at Berryhill Park, Mansfield. Stoke fielded 2 senior men’s, 1 senior women’s, 1 U15 girls and 1 U17 girls teams.
Conditions were fine but cold with a moderate wind, the course was excellent underfoot, fast races were expected.
The standout individual Stoke performance of the day goes perhaps not unexpectedly to Kate Holt on the first leg of the senior women’s race 3 x 3K race. A seriously stacked first leg set off at a furious pace. Through the wooded section Kate sat in with an elite group of athletes including Steph Twell, Charlene Thomas, and Olympian Laura Weightman. Kate maintained close contact with the group out of the woods and up the long hill to the top of the course, a couple of seconds separating 6 athletes. Into the final climb for the finish Kate finished strongly to overhaul Weightman crossing the line in a very creditable 4th place in 9:34.65, a personal best for the course, 5 seconds separated the first 5 athletes. The performance was to give Kate the fourth fastest time of the day, a “bullish” performance and a great start to the 2016 cross country season.
Lucy Hayes took on the second leg and despite not being 100% maintained a top ten position handing over to Louise Dawson in 7th place. Louise, who is in the Masters age group, showed that age is no barrier to a committed performance, battling hard throughout the 3rd and final leg to maintain the club in the top 20 teams finishing in 15th position. Louise epitomized what club athletics is about, drafted in at short notice and not having competed in this level of competition for some years Louise was understandably nervous but performed admirably and did the club proud. Well done to all three of you proud Stokies.
Our U17 girls team of Elizabeth Stanyer (10:17), Lauren Gregory (9:57) and Bethany Sharpley(10:18) finished in 35th place, mid table, with our U15 Girls team of Maisie Tinwell(7:58), Holly Dykes(8:30) and Rebecca Hargreaves (8:35) crossed the line in 60th position.
Best performance from our senior men over the 4x5k course came from Alex Brecker(15:36) supported by Ryan Holroyd(16:10), Will Neil(16:14) and Oliver Langford (16:29) for 19th place with the B team in 65th place of 166 teams.
Well done to all who took part and maintained the proud cross country tradition of City of Stoke AC.