National Cross Country Relays

The National Cross Country relays were held at Berry Hill Park on a fine early November day. The lack of recent rains made the going firm with almost no muddy patches and the sunny afternoon promised ideal conditions for the hundreds of runners from all over the country. The tough twisty, undulating course wasn't perhaps ideally suited to the shorter distances of the relays but provided an excellent cross country venue to test every runner. Ladies races were 3 x 3km with the mens being 4 x 5km.

In the Senior Ladies race Sharron Orridge finished the first 3km leg in 10:47 and 27th place handing over to Sarah Tucker. Sarah passed several other teams coming home in 23rd position after a lap of 11:06. Monica Fee, on the anchor leg raced away for her lap finishing in 12:10 bringing the ladies team home in 29th place overall of a total of 83 finishers, and just 1 second behind the runner in front of her. Overall time (for 9km) was 34:03.

In the mens race the team suffered from a lack of race-fit members and an injured Richard Wilkinson was replaced at the last minute by Ian Wallis. Ian returning from injury and lacking fitness for short quick races was concerned about the quality field so elected to stick with Rob Sharatt of Ilkeston. They set off on their 5km leg and Ian sat on Robs shoulder for the first lap with 2 Sutton runners for company. As they entered the woods for the second time Rob's strength took him away and Ian faded fast coming home in a solid last place in 23:10 just 6 seconds behind a Sutton runner. Rob Easter took up the chase having a fairly lonely run but making up one place by taking the Sutton runner. Rumours are that Rob has been contributing to the Rams players fund by eating extra pies but he still finished his 5km leg in 22:03. Racing whippet Jason (I lost all my fitness in Australia) Rawlings took leg 3 setting off surrounded by the class athletes of the leading clubs starting their 4th lap. Jason was obviously inspired by these elite athletes picking up 8 places and finishing in an impressive 19:40. Andrei Vais then took over for the fourth and final leg with a run of 21:04 passing a couple of runners and bringing the team home in 138th place out of 165 starters.

As an added bonus all runners were entitled to a "goody" bag sponsored by Saucony who also sponsored the racing. For 15 there was a technical long sleeved t-shirt, running gloves and hat, and a pot of Bodyglide Muscle Formula.

Thanks go to Richard Wilkinson for organising everything and coming along to support despite not being able to run. It's just a shame that out of a club of talented runners like ours we couldn't have fielded a couple of teams for a stronger showing. It would be great to see more members out at the County Championships (Notts and Derbys) at Markeaton Park in Derby on January 5th. See Richard, Jodie or Shaun for details.


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