Saturday always starts off with Parkruns though this week few of us did them. From what I have seen there was me at The Wammy, Ashley Dennett at Congleton and Sarah Mackness at Wilmslow – really heartening to see Sarah back running and now adding some tempo – sub 20 mins and 1st Lady.
Later yesterday I travelled down to Bromsgrove to support the Ladies at the last Midland Women’s XC League. What an nerve biting, tense journey down it was – M6 congestion and accident meant that at 1pm there was only Kelly Butler at the course for the 1.30pm race. Donna Sherwin, Mandy Vernon and Vic Hughes got there at 1pm (I won’t mention a quick hop over a farmer’s gate pit stop) and then Nia Nokes and Emily Batkin arrived at 1.15pm. Spikes on and over to the start with little or no warm up.
The race itself was on a waterlogged and boggy course so really tough conditions. Donna was leading until part way around the 2ndlap but went over her ankle and wisely backed off but still came home 2nd.
Not far behind Kelly was having her strongest and best race for a while finishing with a good kick to move into 3rd place.
These 2 were brilliantly backed up by Mandy Vernon and Vic Hughes with both running with fire in their bellies and moving through the field throughout to finish in 9th and 11th places.
Our final 2 runners are both coming back from illness but did fantastically given how they have been feeling. Nia Nokes and Emily Batkin both started with strong intent and normally would have held it but did really well to finish 14th and 23rd.
220 finished so 4 in 11 for team places and 6 in 23 overall. Great running by everyone who has raced the 4 match series and all played a part in the Team being very comfortable winners of the League and with it promotion to Div 1 next year. Unfortunately, it looks like Trentham have been relegated so no local rivalry next year. Individual accolades to Donna in being 1st overall and 1st Masters and to Kelly for 3rdoverall.
A little later it was the men’s turn at Leamington at the final Birmingham League. Word had been spread to avoid the M6 near Birmingham but Sam Lucking was still caught out and arrived 15 minutes before the start.
The aim was to get enough out to finish a team in a decent place, secure Div 1 status and to beat Newcastle. I am very pleased to say that despite a very small 7 man team all those boxes were ticked and 10thplace was secured on the day to finish 10th overall for the series and to beat Newcastle on the day and the series though I am pleased that they too secured Div 1 status.
Seb Duffy is certainly returning to form of old with an excellent 16th place followed by a rejuvenated James Condlyffe in 34th(and having done a test with Stu/Endurance peak the night before). Next home was Sam Lucking having a cracking race despite no warm up – 47thfollowed by Stuart Fisher in 62 – feeling a bit flat though his winter sun holiday this week will help). Good to see Tom Hendricken back out racing as he was our 5th counter in 91st and new recruit Tom Chell bringing the team home in 110th. Lastly but certainly not least our safety net was secured by Phil Rowley in 169th place.
Again, lots of mud and water but great running today and throughout the series. Hopefully next year we can get more out, run stronger and finish higher.
Today’s Village Bakery HM was called off but Rugeley 10 went ahead and we had 3 runners in it to my knowledge. Ross Connor showed a return to form in training this week and carried this forward to today coming home in a fantastic 3rd place. Kelly Butler used it as a tempo paced race but it was good enough to be 1st lady. Her partner in crime, Dave Morrell had a strong run to get 3rd V50 as well in the race.
Great weekend everyone.