English Cross Country Relays

Departing Long Eaton for the English Cross Country Relays this Saturday 5th November, you could have been forgiven for thinking that a dry afternoon of racing was in store. Instead, the men's and women's teams found themselves at Mansfield's Berry Hill Park in the midst of a downpour, which made for a very muddy afternoon of running. In the event, despite the chilly and damp conditions, both teams did the club proud.

The women's race, comprising of three legs of 3km each, got underway first, and Sarah Harris ran the first leg, marking her first appearance for the club since the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Both the men's and women's courses included a number of twists and turns through a wooded area, and really boggy conditions underfoot. Sarah made it round in an excellent 10:54.60, placing the team inside the top 20 in a highly competitive field that included some of the country's best endurance athletes. Sharon Orridge, who recently won the first East Midlands League race at Trent Meadows, went second, and managed to gain a place with a strong run (11:50.80), before sending Monica Marriott on her way. Monica managed to hold her run together brilliantly to see the team home inside the top 30 from a total of 104 completed teams. This was an outstanding result.

The men's race was a 4x5km affair, featuring two laps for each runner of a slightly shorter course that was still twisty and “turny” and, having had all the boys and girls age group races and the earlier women's race take place on it, possibly even boggier. Rod Harris was assigned to lead off the team and, like Sarah, he got off to a very stong start. His task was made more difficult by the mass start that featured 199 runners being funneled through a relatively narrow pen. Having got to the line later than he'd have liked, Rod started at the back of the field but made his way through nicely to hand over to Andy Peat in 67th place in a time of 17:39 (which illustrates how tough the course was). Andy and Blaine Crawford dug in on the deteriorating course (running times of 19:18.50 and 20:09.30 respectively), before Paul Lewis took over in 80th position. Paul managed to pass 9 runners on his way to an 18:50.50 clocking, to see the team finish a highly respectable 71st from a total of 157 completed teams. Again, to finish in the top half of the country's best teams is an excellent achievement.

This report was brought to you by deano

Club Sec wrote;  Great report Deano. As team manager for the day, I would like to add my own praise to the seven LERCers who took part. Conditions were horrible, but the same for everyone. A great position for the men, but a magnificent one for Sarah, Sharon and Monica.

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