Chris Mason

Allestree Cross Country

It’s Abbey again!!!

Abbey Van Dijk seems to be getting stronger with every race. In the latest leg of this season’s Derby Runner Cross Country League (Staffs & Derby) at Allestree, Abbey was again 1st in the women’s race and also the first of the Club’s 28 competitors to finish.  On a cold, frosty, misty morning over a very muddy course Chris Pearson was next across the line for a superb 7th place in the men’s race with Seb Van Dijk, who is improving with every race, close behind in 10th. The ultra-reliable Mark Harriott was next in 15th with Tim Rhodes, Men’s Captain Andy Orme and Mikey Walters all giving everything to finish in 34th, 42nd and 50th places respectively. The evergreen Matt Long and Steve Leafe both defied the year’s to finish in 54th and 59th places respectively and deservedly completed the team scorers in the men’s race. Ross Ballinger collected the 63rd place finishing token with Andy Meadows in 66th finishing ahead of a plethora of quality runners including the returning Colin Mee in 73rd and Joe Baldwin in 79th. Kevin Clarke, Chris Elsegood and David Green battled through the mud to finish in 85th, 90th and 93rd places with David hampered, as was Mikey Walters before him, by having to go searching for a lost shoe. Tony Richards, Dave Walters and Mitch Timms gave everything to complete the Club’s finishers in the men’s race in 103rd, 106th and 109th places.

Team wise it was another strong performance by the Club’s women with Tracey Glover running strongly for 10th place, Women’s Club Captain, Lisa Wright in 25th and Becky Lenaghan in 46th providing excellent team support behind Abbey Van Dijk. Emma Sharp again performed well to finish in 60th place just edging out Sarah Walters in 66th and cross country debutant Ellie Dickson, in another of the performances of the day, in 72nd. Helen Clarke made light of the conditions to finish in 84th with Anna Casey and Julianne Walters not too far behind in 89th and 90th places.   

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Groby XC

Abbey national!!!

It was the morning after the Club’s Annual Presentation Night but it didn’t stop 16 hardy members lining up on the start line at Groby for the latest leg in this year’s Derby Runner XC League. In the more competitive Leicestershire division of the league Abbey Van Dijk showed what a quality runner she is by storming home in 1st place in the women’s race. This was eight days after Abbey finished 5th in a tight race over a tough 8km course at Shipley Park in the Derbyshire Cross Country Championship. This performance secured a county vest and well-earned selection in the Inter County Championship at nearby Prestwold Hall in March. Great team support was provided in the women’s race by Club Captain, Lisa Wright in 40th, Nikki Reeves in 42nd and a determined Becky Lenaghan in 112th. Emma Sharp, who the night before was deservedly a division winner, was next home with the redoubtable Pauline Cooper completing the Club’s finishers in the women’s race in 250th.

Club Chairman and Men’s Club Champion for the second year, Andy Hawtin led the Club’s men home in a solid 18th place with two of the area’s best MV50 runners, Rich Miller and Mark Harriott, performing with distinction in 51st and 84th places respectively. Men’s Club Captain, Andy Orme set his usual good example as he finished in 139th with Steve Leafe, easing his way back after injury, in 165th. Ross Ballinger, who had a running year to remember in 2019, also started this year in great style in 193rd place with Adrian Middleton not far behind in 212th and Joe Baldwin, had the distinction of completing the team’s scorers in the men’s race, in 225th. Lewis Cotton was close behind in 232nd with MV60 Mitch Timms completing the Club’s finishers in the men’s race in 261st.  

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Shipley, Pisa & the Roaches

The Farmer is back!!!!!

James Farmer, fresh from his first term at university, showed that he has used his time well as he led the Club’s contingent of 24 home in the latest leg of the Derby Runner Cross Country League (Staffs and Derby). His superb 2nd place finish led a really strong showing by both the Club’s men’s and women’s team over what was, unsurprisingly, very heavy going in Shipley Park. James was followed home by Ross Clarke in 5th, who underlined what an excellent season of continuous improvement he has had. Seb Van Dijk ran strongly for 9th place as did cross country debutant Steve Bullock in 13th and the more seasoned Andy Windle in 17th. Chris Hanman followed up his superb last racing performance with an excellent 20th place finish with Mark Harriott in 29th and Ben Holmes in 31st, holding it all together to complete the men’s team finishers. Great support was provided by Rom Chambard in 34th, Dave Green in 36th and the evergreen Matt Long in 41st. Men’s team captain, Andy Orme collected the 44th place finishing token with Hector Arenas, gaining more valuable racing experience, in 59th and Ian Archer in 64th. There was then close racing between Paul Glover in 73rd, Chris Elsegood in 75th and Joe Baldwin in 76th with Robin Thorne in 104th completing the Club’s finishers in the men’s race.

Running as well as she has ever done, Chrissie Hawtin led the Club’s women home with another excellent 2nd place finish with Katie Dennis in 5th, Tracey Glover in 11th and Women’s team captain, Lisa Wright, setting a brilliant example in 16th completing a really solid team showing. Rebecca Lenaghan ran well for 40th place with Sarah Walters continuing her love affair with the mud and water finishing in 46th.

Shane Chapman continued his cultural tour of Europe when he tackled the Pisa Half Marathon and ran strongly to finish in a very respectable 01:31. Meanwhile, Gary Price, Paul Hudson, Kev Clarke and Andy Meadows were in action, courtesy of the Mountain Rescue Service, as they tackled the frequently cancelled Staffordshire Moorlands Christmas Cracker. The race, over approximately 8 miles, is mainly off road and rises to 1500 feet above sea level along the exposed Roaches gritstone ridge. Our intrepid runners finished en bloc taking the finishing times from 96:10 and finishing places from 103rd onwards.  

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Mallory Park, Sneyd & Aber

It was another mud fest for the seventeen runners from the Club who took part on Sunday in the latest leg of the Derby Runner Cross Country League, over a new course at Mallory Park. Leading the way was Andy Hawtin, who recorded an excellent 35th place finish, over what he recognises is not his favourite racing surface. Next, in 91st, was one of the Club’s most consistent runners on all surfaces, Mark Harriot, who just got the better of Chris Hanman, who justifiably laid claim to the ‘performance of the day’ as he collected the 93rd place finishing token. Rom Chambard ran strongly for 102nd place with the rest of the team scorers, Andy Orme in 131st, Matt Long in 151st, Ian Archer in 179th and Ross Ballinger in 195th spread out down the field. Chris Elsegood ran strongly for 212th with Joe Baldwin and Mitch Timms in fairly close order in 237th and 245th finishing places. Robin Thorne in 265th, Mark Nixon in 275th and David Walters in 298th completed the Club’s finishers in the men’s race.

The improving Katie Dennis led the Club’s women home, in what was a very competitive race, with a superb 21st place finish. Women’s Club Captain, Lisa Wright ran strongly for 34th with Nikki Reeves in 54th and Becky Lenaghan in a well-run 109th completing the women’s team finishers. Emma Sharp, a day after reaching the milestone of 250 parkruns, finished in 150th with Anna Casey collecting the 167th place token after another committed run. Julianne Walters chose one of the longest and muddiest cross country courses to make her debut at the discipline and deserves great credit for passing the test with flying colours as she finished in 172nd place.

Four of the Club’s runners were on a slightly firmer surface as they tackled the annual Sneyd Christmas Pudding 10 miler. Over a relatively flat course but in gusty conditions Chris Mason was first back in 71:55, a performance that was good enough to secure the MV65 prize and a 49th place finish. Also amongst the prizes was Tracey Glover, whose well deserved distance PB of 75:18, secured the WV45 prize and a 71st place finish.  Steve Leafe battled well for his 75:47 with the hard running Gary Price completing the quartet with a highly creditable 82:51. Lastly, James Farmer, a first year student at Aberystwyth proved he is making the most of university by setting a superb PB at the Aber 10k of 35:39

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Cliff Lakes, Clowne and Silverstone

Abbey does it again!!!

The cross country races come thick and fast at this time of year and this Sunday, in the Derby/Stafford division of the Derby Runner League, it was a new course at Cliff Lakes, Tamworth that the hardy souls, including thirty two from the Club, had to tackle. Needless to say it was very wet and muddy but this didn’t deter Abbey Van Dijk as, for the second consecutive week, she won the women’s race by a significant margin. Abbey was well supported team wise by a resurgent Christina Hawtin in 5th, Women’s captain Lisa Wright in 21st and the determined Nikki Reeves in 25th. Second Claimer Fiona Betts was next in 28th followed closely by Hazel O’Brien in 30th and the improving Katarina Compton in 37th. Becky Moult powered home in 53rd followed by Sarah Walters in 60th and Shannon Hurdman, cross country debutant Helen Clarke and Anna Casey in 89th, 94th and 95th places respectively.

The Club’s men’s team were led home by Chris Pearson, who revels in the mud and wet, and finished here in an excellent 3rd place. Someone who has displayed remarkable consistency across all surfaces this year is Mark Harriott and he put local knowledge to good use to finish in a superb 24th place. The yellow vests then swamped the finish area as the hard running Ben Holmes, Shane Chapman, Micheal Walters and Andy Allsop collected the 28th, 29th, 30th and 32nd finishing tokens. In a morning of good performances Micheal Walters, on his cross country debut, deserves special mention for a consistent, well-paced effort in testing conditions. Men’s Team Captain, Andy Orme in 48th and race debutant Hector Arenas in a well-run 55th completed the men’s team finishers. Mention should also be made of another debutant Darren Wilson who finished in 41st but unfortunately couldn’t count in the team because of his second claim status. David Green finished in 60th just edging out another second claimer James Cox in a very promising 61st. Veteran Matt Long made light of the conditions to finish in 66th getting the better on this occasion of Ross Ballinger in 81st, Chris Elsegood in 86th, the improving Jo Baldwin in 92nd and another vet, Kev Clarke in 94th. David Walters, another debutant Paul Newman and Robin Thorne gave everything to the cause as they completed the Club’s finishers in the men’s race in very respectable 112th, 117th and 126th places respectively. 

In another busy running weekend there was also significant contingents from the Club in road race action in the popular Clowne and Silverstone Half Marathons. Over a challenging Clowne course there were a significant number of terrific performances with Chris Hanman first back in a personal best chip time of 94:16 for an excellent 56th place finish. One of the Club’s most improved runners this season Romain Chambard was three places back in 94:31 before Steve Leafe, in arguably his best performance of the year, stopped the clock in 97:45. There was also a well-deserved personal best from Katie Dennis of 98:02 who led home Tracey Glover in 100:48 and Ian Archer in 101:41. Paul Glover recorded 105:25 before another excellent distance personal best of 107:10 from Mark Murkin. Andy Meadows ran well for his 109:04 as did Gary Price for 114:45, David Lunn for 129:07 and Emma Sharp for another well-deserved distance personal best of 137:44.

Silverstone race track was the iconic venue for a series of road races on Sunday with the Club’s contingent of five tackling the half marathon distance. Tim Rhodes was first back in 97:50 followed closely by Andy Lindley in a chip time of 97:52. There was ecstasy and agony for the next finishers with John Pegg ducking under the two hour benchmark in 119:56 and Ellie Dickson and Sarah Rhodes agonisingly missing out with 120:13 and 121:03.  

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Holly Hayes, Derby, Matthew Walker, 13 Arches and Aintree

Fifty four members from the Club were in action over the weekend at five different venues and the thing they all had in common was……wet feet!! Laying claim to the wettest feet were the sixteen who took part in the first leg of the Derby Runner Cross Country League (Leicestershire Division) at Holly Hayes Wood. With the usual mix of rocks and gratuitous water hazards you need to be resilient to survive and Abbie Van Dijk was all of these as she won the women’s race by a significant margin. She was given great team support by Team Captain, Lisa Wright in 38th, Katarina Compton in 61st and Anna Casey in 197th. The men were deservedly led home by Mark Harriott in 85th with strongman Shane Chapman in 96th and debutant Sebastian Van Dijk in a well-run 104th. Ben Holmes ran strongly for 113th with something of a gap before Adrian Middleton, making a welcome return to the mud and water, finished in 199th. Steve Leafe battled around for 205th place before Chris Elsegood and Ian Archer completed the team scorers in 212th and 223rd places. Special mention should be made of second claimer Rich Miller who ran strongly for 44th place but was unable to count in the team and to Joe Baldwin, second claimer Mitch Timms and Mark Nixon who battled well for 270th, 306th and 317th places respectively.

Equally wet were the seventeen who tackled the Derby 10 mile race which, surprisingly given the conditions, featured a significant number of distance PBs for the Club’s contingent. The Club’s first three finishers Danial Bower, Ross Clarke and Darren Holmes were separated, on chip times, by 23 seconds and three finishing positions as they finished in 30th, 31st and 33rd places in times of 61:48, 61:56 and 62:11 respectively. Rob Eaton, still recovering from the Chicago Marathon, ran solidly for his 65:56 as did Nathan Holmes in 67:45 and Tim Rhodes in 68:09. The next three finishers were separated by 13 seconds with Rom Chambard, Andy Lindley and Christina Hawtin recording 68:58, 69:01 and 69:11 and all having the satisfaction of recording distance PBs. Men’s Club Captain, Andy Orme returned to form with 69:31 just edging out the resilient Matt Clemson in 71:32. Ross Ballinger, Becky Moult and John Pegg ran well for their chip times of 82:42, 87:49 and 88:31 as did the improving Emma Sharp as she stopped the clock in 100:00. Shannon Hurdman and Pauline Cooper gave their usual maximum effort to complete the Club’s finishers in 114:40 and 122:12.

Also with solid, if wet, ground beneath their feet were the seventeen who tackled the Matthew Walker Christmas Pudding 10k. Leading the way for the group was Steve Bullock in a very respectable 41:37 with Mikey Walters not far behind in 42:33. David Green, Chris Hanman and Phil Daws all ran to form in recording 44:40, 45:21 and 47:02 before, what was arguably the Club’s performance of the race from Mark Murkin, as he stopped the clock in 47:28. Kev Clarke couldn’t quite replicate the distance PB performance of son Ross at the Derby 10 mile but rolled back the years in recording 50:10 with another experienced runner Gary Price doing well for 51:02. Kelvin Taylor and Dave Walters finished closely in 53:03 and 53:26 with Andy Meadows next in 54:31. Sarah Walters ran superbly for her 55:38 as did Becky Lenaghan in 58:03. David Lunn also ducked beneath the hour with 58:40 before Jan Cobb, Helen Clarke and Julianne Walters completed the Club’s finishers in 66:16, 71:12 and 74:10 respectively.

Paul and Tracey Glover raced much further afield as they tackled the 13 Arches Trail Half Marathon near Manchester and both ran with distinction as they recorded very respectable times of 01:41.47 and 01:42.30. Chris Mason, probably had the driest feet, as he competed on Saturday in the annual British and Irish Masters International XC at Aintree Racecourse over a flat, almost dry 6km course. Chris managed to finish as third scorer in the victorious English team and fifth overall in the MV70 category.

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Worksop and Snowdon

Danial frightens the opposition!!!

In excellent running conditions, apart from a pond size road flood, 35 members from the Club made their way to Worksop on Sunday for one of the best races on the calendar, the Halloween Half Marathon. The good running conditions were reflected in some excellent times including a number of distance personal bests. Danial Bower had the distinction of leading the contingent home with an excellent chip time of 01:25.00 for 46th place. Tim Rhodes continued his season long improvement with 01:26.06, a time some 10 minutes quicker than his performance in last year’s race. Christian Glover, fresh from winning 3 medals at the World Kick Boxing Championships in Glasgow, ran well for 01:30.04 with Stuart Halsey, after a busy running month, including the recent Chicago Marathon, kept his form to record 01:32.54. Andy Orme and Romain Chambard both ran together for a while before Andy edged in front as the duo recorded 01:34.33 and 01:35.27 respectively. Chris Mason’s time of 01:36.36 was good enough to secure the MV70 prize before multi-marathoner, Andy Lindley stopped the clock in 01:38.29 and Chris Elsegood stormed to a well-deserved distance PB of 01:38.52. Tracey Glover ran superbly to record 01:39:58 edging out, on this occasion, Micheal Walters in 01:40.50, Chris Hanman in 01:40.55 and, husband Paul, in 01:42.44. On chip times Katie Dennis, Ian Archer and Ross Ballinger finished in relatively close order in times of 01:44.13, 01:45.32 and 01:45:48 with London Marathon bound Lisa Wright getting the better of the fast starting Matt Long with times of 01:47.01 and 01:47.15 respectively. Again, on chip times, Mark Murkin was next in 01:48.28 before Becky Moult, one of a party of the Club’s runners who recently ran in the heat of Palma, Majorca, finished in 01:49.49. There was then something of a gap before Joe Baldwin and Gary Price finished in relatively close order with 01:55.08 and 01:55.32. Dave Walters ran a solid 01:58.00 before two of the performances of the day from Robin Thorne and Ellie Dickson. For Robin it was a distance PB of 01:58.23 and Ellie’s 01:59.07 was 20 minutes quicker than her time in last year’s event.  John Pegg and Karen Wilks just missed out on sub 2 hour performances with 02:00.22 and 02:00.33 before another terrific performance of 02:05.45 from Becky Lenaghan, who was paced around the scenic route by Nikki Reeves, who finished in the same time. David Green and Sarah Walters also finished closely with times of 02:11.28 and 02:11.30 with David Lunn battling well for 02:12.10 before Emma Sharp in 02:20.35 and Anna Casey with 02:33.40 completed the Club’s finishers. For Emma though her performance emphasised her season long improvement as she shaved 7 minutes off her time in last year’s race.

In almost polar opposite conditions on Saturday Jenny Laing, Mark Harriott and Mitch Timms tackled the Snowdonia Marathon Eyri. In cold and wet conditions with the running surface resembling a stream in places Jenny Laing was first back in 03:37.39 with Mark Harriott, still with the Chicago Marathon in his legs, recording 03:59.30 and second claimer Mitch Timms a very creditable 04:58.59.

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Anslow Cross Country

When the leaves turn to brown and the days get shorter runner’s thoughts turn to cross country and Sunday at Anslow, for members of South Derbyshire Road Runners, was the start of what will be a busy and competitive cross country winter. There was a terrific turnout of 39 runners from the Club for this, the first leg of the Derby Runner League. On a day of many terrific performances it was Chris Pearson who led the men’s team home with a brilliant 2nd place finish. Chris, one of the Club’s strongest runners, has raced sparingly on the road this season so it was a real bonus to see him run so well here. Ross Clarke, fresh from a sub 3 hour performance at the recent Chester Marathon, ran superbly for 6th place with ultra-distance man Andy Windle in 8th and the Club’s man for all seasons, Mark Harriott shaking off any fatigue from the Chester Marathon to finish strongly in 11th. Rich Miller, a day after a half marathon, ran well for 14th place with Andy Alsop in 26th, Nathan Holmes in 30th and Men’s Team Captain, Andy Orme in 35th giving everything to complete the team finishers in the men’s race. 

Matt Long raced strongly to finish in 51st with debutant Dave Green showing well in 59th before a close battle between Ross Ballinger in 64th and another debutant, James Cox in 65th. Barry Saunders another recovering from a gruelling autumn marathon finished in 71st before the inform Paul Glover in 74th, Chris Elsegood in 85th, Joe Baldwin in 94th and Adrian Leigh in 95th crossed the line. Gary Price collected the 104th place finishing token before Mark Murkin in 113th, second claimer Mitch Newman in 126th and debutant Mark White in 131st completed the Club’s finishers in the men’s race.

Another making her racing debut for the Club was Abbie Van Djik and a couple of weeks after winning the Chester Marathon she showed her pedigree here by finishing in a superb 2nd place in the women’s race. A true measure of her performance is that overall she was the 3rd finisher for the Club. The resurgent Christina Hawtin and Ellie Evans finished in 4th and 5th places with Tracey Glover in 11th completing the team finishers in the women’s race. Solid support was provided by another with the Chester Marathon in her legs, Katie Dennis in 12th, ironwoman Lisa Wright in 18th and Becky Moult and Nikki Reeves in 27th and 28th respectively. Sarah Walters ran strongly for 65th place as did Becky Leneghan in 76th and Emily Atkins in 87th before Anna Casey in 97th, Shannon Hurdman in 98th and the determined Pauline Cooper in 112th completed the Club’s finishers in a very competitive women’s race.

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Tamworth 5 and Calke Abbey 10k

Prize day!!!

Tamworth was the venue for the final race in this year’s Burton and District Summer Road Racing League and as the results came in it was clear that both the Club’s men’s and women’s teams had secured their respective championships. In great running conditions, over a relatively quick 5 mile course, it was Liam Bradbury, as he’s done so regularly this season, who led the Club’s contingent home with a superb 4th place finish in a chip time of 27:37. Together with James Farmer’s 30.11 and Mark Harriott’s 30:27 the trio secured the race’s men’s team prize. Mark is going through a real purple patch and his performance here was also good enough to secure the individual MV50 prize in a very competitive category. Sam Bassett, back in action a few days after completing, together with team mate Ben Holmes, the gruelling 191km, GR20 trail across Corsica, showed no ill effects in stopping the clock here in 30:50. Rich Miller, a day after smashing his parkrun PB, edged out an injury hampered Andy Hawtin in 31:46 and 31:59 respectively. Dave Hobbs, another fresh from a parkrun PB, continued his good form with 32:48 with Nathan Holmes, a week after a strong debut marathon in the New Forest, not far behind in 33:02. Louise Insley ran strongly for her 33:43, which secured a well-deserved WV45 prize and was kept reasonably close company by a resurgent Christina Hawtin who finished in 33:55, Matt Clemson in 34:20 and Team Captain Andy Orme in 34:29. Chris Mason with 34:58 was another prize winner in the MV70 category with the improving Chris Elsegood close behind in 35:38. Nigel Atkins was next to finish in 35:51 before the  tightest inter-club battle involved the improving Ross Ballinger, Paul Glover and Ian Archer as they stopped the clock in 36:08, 36:12 and 36:13 respectively. Steve Leafe battled round in 36:42 with Tracey Glover, defying heavy legs from marathon training, finishing in 38:01. Barry Saunders, another who tackled the New Forest Trail Marathon last weekend, finished in 38:33 with Tony Richards, Gary Price and Rebecca Moult giving everything to finish in 39:31, 40:44 and 41:05. John Pegg and Robin Thorne both finished strongly to record 41:24 and 42:22 with Robin’s reward being a distance PB. Karen Wilks ran well for 43:49 before Shannon Hurdman and Alison Jackson completed the finishers for the Club in well-run times of 53:32 and 64;04 respectively.

Rob Eaton and Felicity Towns raced closer to home with Rob finishing 2nd overall in 38:05 and Felicity, making a welcome racing appearance stopping the clock in 76:37

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Wilne and Sherwood Pines 10ks plus South Cheshire 20

Chris is Good!!!

The running gods were in perfect symmetry on Sunday for the Wilne 10k; nice temperature for running, slight breeze, a flat course with long straights and a high quality field all combined for a barrage of personal bests (PBs) from the 22 from the Club who took part. Jack Leafe led the contingent home with a superb chip time of 36.11 for 41st place.  James Farmer 37.13 showed that he is returning to something like his best before he joins the student exodus in a couple of weeks-time for his fresher’s year at Aberystwyth.  Tim Rhodes was the first to shatter his distance PB with an excellent 37.56. This performance augurs well for Tim’s autumn marathon double of Berlin and Chester. Club debutant Darren Holmes ran a superb race to stop the clock in 38.10 before Chris Hanman showed exactly what he is capable of crossing the line in a PB of 41.11. Chris Mason finished in 42.53 to secure the MV70 prize with Steve Leafe recording an improved 43.44 before, arguably the performance of the day, from Chris Elsegood, who obliterated his PB with an excellent 44.37. Phil Daws and Paul Glover continued the theme of good performances with 44.59 and 45.21 respectively before Andy Meadows recorded a well-deserved PB of 45.31. Robin Thorne ran solidly for 53.26 before Kev Clarke and Ellie Dickson crossed the line together in 53.55 and 53.56 respectively. Karen Wilks and Emma Sharp gave everything in recording 54.17 and 59.32 before Tracey Glover and Emily Atkins finished together in 61.26 and 61.27 with Becky Atkins close behind in 62.07. Angela Daws continues to improve with every race recording 63.01 here before Mary Sharp and Pauline Cooper gave their usual maximum effort in completing the finishers for the club in 66.13 and 70.17 respectively.

Men’s Club Captain, Andy Orme was also tackling the 10k distance but this time the trail variety in the Sherwood Pines 10k. Andy ran with real distinction finishing in 26th place in a very respectable 43.37. Andy Lindley, Becky Moult, Romain Chambard and Katie Dennis enhanced their endurance by tackling the South Cheshire 20 recording excellent times of 02.28.17, 02.46.19, 02.46.21 and 02.47.22 respectively.  

Posted by Chris Mason in Race Reports