Anslow, Draycote Water Park & Cannock Chase

Debut boys do the business!!

A return visit to Anslow was the venue for the latest leg of the Derbyshire/Staffordshire section of the Derby Runner Cross Country League with 19 runners of the Club’s runners lining up on the start line in wet conditions. When the racing started it was again the determined 18 year old James Farmer who led the way home with a superb 3rd place finish. The Club will certainly miss James when, if everything goes to plan, he decamps to university in September. Reigning Club Champion, Andy Hawtin was next in 4th place with cross country debutant’s Tom Ward in 10th, Dave Hobbs in 18th and Ben Holmes in 23rd all contributing superbly to a terrific team performance. Sandwiched between them was top MV50, Stuart Halsey in 14th with Sam Bassett and team captain Andy Orme bringing the team home in 28th and 33rd places respectively. The improving Matt Long was next in 39th place before great packing from Nigel Atkins in 50th, strongman Rom Chambard in 52nd and Adie Middleton in 55th. Paul Glover, one of numerous runners from the Club training for a spring marathon or beyond, defied his tired legs to finish in 73rd before Tony Richards and Mark Nixon completed the Club’s finishers in the men’s race in 84th and 93rd places.

In the women’s race Tracey Glover in 13th, Emily Atkins in 29th, Rebecca Lenaghan in 41st and Emma Sharp in 50th gave everything to the team cause to make up superbly for the unavoidable absence of some of the more usual team scorers.

Kat Smith was in 10k action at a cold and wet Draycote Water Park and should be pleased with a chip time of 57:04 and finishing position of 56th in the women’s race. Four others of the Club’s intrepid runners found themselves in more rugged countryside in the Cannock Chase 10 miler. For Chris Pearson, in a brilliant 2nd place in a chip time of 65:16, and Shane Chapman, in 8th place in 70:52, this type of countryside is very familiar and their preferred environment be it mountain biking or running. Andy Allsop ran well for 17th place in 73:33 with second claimer Mitch Timms finishing in 149th in 98:32 sealing an unexpected but well deserved team prize for the quartet.

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Allestree, 4 Villages and Coed y Brenin

Onwards and upwards for James

Cross country fixtures are coming thick and fast at this time of year particularly with South Derbyshire Road Runners involvement in both area versions of the Derby Runner League. On Sunday it was the turn of the Derby/Staffordshire version with 31 members completing a 2 lap course of approximately 6 miles in total at Allestree Park. Again, it was 18 year old James Farmer who led the men’s team home with a superb 2nd place finish. A day after celebrating completing 250 parkruns, mainly at Rosliston, he had the satisfaction here of edging out his regular training partner and motivator, Chris Pearson who ran brilliantly for 4th place. Ross Clarke, who is having a terrific series, was next in 8th place with Stuart Halsey producing another quality run in 12th. Nathan Fagan and team captain Andy Orme collected the 27th and 33rd place finishing tokens with strongman Romain Chambard and a resurgent Matt Long completing the men’s team finishers in 41st and 47th places respectively.

Pushing Long all the way were Nigel Atkins in 49th and Ross Ballinger in 53rd with a really tight inter-club battle resulting in Andy Lindley in 60th just edging out Chris Elsegood in 61st and, the Club’s most improved runner, Paul Glover in 63rd. Kev Clarke ran solidly for 81st place before Tony Richards, Gary Price and Dave Walters had their own race within a race as they finished in 95th, 96th and 97th places respectively. Mark Murkin gave everything to complete the men’s finishers in a creditable 113th place.

With Jenny Laing restored to full fitness after missing last week’s race the Club’s women were assured of a great lead out and she didn’t disappoint here as she collected the 3rd place finishing token. Christina Hawtin ran superbly for 5th place with Tracey Glover and the improving Lisa Wright having their own personal battle as they completed the women’s team finishers in 15th and 16th places respectively.

Slowly getting back to form women’s team captain Nikki Reeves was next in 26th place with Sam Skidmore and triathlete Hannah Wintrip both running well to finish in 30th and 48th places.  Rebecca Lenaghan in 56th, Emily Atkins in 59th and Sarah Walters in 65th made light of the conditions before Emma Sharpe, Pauline Cooper and Cath Johnstone gave their usual maximum effort to complete the finishers in the women’s race in 76th, 90th and 96th places respectively.    

Sam Bassett and Kelvin Taylor were much further afield with both tackling the half marathon distance. However, the races couldn’t have been more different with Sam tackling the 37th version of the Essar 4 Villages Half Marathon around the country lanes of Cheshire and Kelvin the forest trails of Coed-y- Brenin in the Buff Winter Trail Half Marathon. What they both had in common though was that they both ran with distinction recording chip times of 01:26:33 and 02:4:37 respectively.

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Bagworth Heath

No obstacle for James

Sunday and Bagworth Heath saw the latest leg of this year’s Derby Runner Cross Country League. For the Club’s contingent of 16 it was the morning after the Club’s presentation evening but for James Farmer it was very much business as usual as he lead the group home in a superb 25th place in the men’s race. On a drizzly morning, and after a relatively dry winter, the course still lived up to its better known name of ‘Bogworth’ Heath. Providing terrific support to James were Ross Clarke in 45th, the redoubtable Shane Chapman in 51st, triathlete Christian Glover in 70th and the Club’s man for all season’s Mark Harriott in 85th. Andy Orme put in a typical captain’s performance to cross the line in 124th with Nigel Atkins and Steve Leafe having their own personal battle as they finished in 140th and 144th respectively. Steve, like a great many in the Club and club’s everywhere is committed to a spring marathon and at this time of year facing the dilemma of whether to race and represent the Club or whether to pound the miles out.  Romain Chambard, Matt Long and Ross Ballinger all ran with distinction as they completed the Club’s finishers in the men’s race in very respectable 167th, 199th and 207th places respectively.

Tracey Glover led the Club’s women home in an excellent 47th place finish with the determined Emily Atkins in 107th, Rebecca Lenaghan in 147th and Emma Sharpe in 206th completing the finishers in a top quality women’s race.

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Christmas Cracker 2018

The year has flown by and it was time to take the annual trip over to the Roaches near Leek, for the Christmas Cracker race.  The weather this year seemed to be milder compared to last year’s snow and ice spectacular.  Although shortly after arriving we were given the news that for the second year running the race had to be run around Tittesworth Reservoir due to icy conditions on top.  However this did not dampen or chill our enthusiasm as we headed out onto the undulating track. The race is famed for its fancy dress and this year did not disappoint with some great team costumes covering everything from the Three Wise Ladies, numerous elves and Santa’s, but I think the 15 Mexican’s were highlight of the day especially as they all waited and finished together to a large round of applause. It’s a deceiving route with very few flat sections, some steep stepped sections and many uphill winding climbs that caught many a runner out. Our happy group stayed well bunched for the first third, chatting away as we went although Jenny and Nathan had started to pull away. It was great to cross back over the reservoir to a Mexican wave, from the high spirited poncho wearing Mexican group! Then soon we were into the final section winding up and down through the woods passing a few on our way, until we were on the path heading to the finish. The final race order was Nathan Fagan (44) and Jenny Laing (45) both with a time of 0:37:03, Ade Middleton (64) came in next 0:40:15, closely followed by Katie Dennis (70) 0:40:47 and Rom Chambard (71) 0:40:48.  Then in came the heavy weights pushing each other for a final dash to the line with Kev Clarke nipping in (73) 0:41:08, Paul Hudson (74) 0:41:09 and Gary Price (75) also in a time of 0:41:09.  Emma Sharp finished like a trooper in (175) 0:52:20.  Maybe next year we will make it over the Roaches and Kev can co-ordinate a team fancy dress theme to compete with the other clubs, we will wait and see!

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