English National Cross Country Relays

Saturday 3rd November was the date of the prestigious English National Cross Country Relays at Berryhill Park, Mansfield. This event is always one of the highlights of the cross country season for clubs from across the whole country, with the spectator-friendly course and bustling race village providing a unique atmosphere for racing. LERC entered teams in both the senior womenís and menís races and performed very well in both.

The womenís race was off first, with Sarah Terry running first leg for LERC against some of the countryís top cross country exponents over an undulating 3k course that involved navigating through some woods before a long drag up to another small copse and then heading back down to the start/finish area. Conditions were, thankfully, firm underfoot and the sun shone throughout. Sarah performed very well to finish 74th on a highly competitive leg. She passed on to Sharon Orridge, who sailed around majestically to pass 26 runners and hand over to Cath Benson, who was down to run the anchor leg. Cath battled hard and was rewarded with bringing LERC home in an excellent 51st place from a total of 102 completed teams.

The menís race was just as competitive, if not more so, with 157 teams finishing and a further 30+ starting but failing to complete the 4-leg race. The men ran a slightly modified 2.5k course twice, meaning that they had to contend with the dreaded ďhillĒ that looked straightforward but burned the quads with every step. Ed Murden took on the first leg and had to negotiate the start, which, with nearly 200 runners funnelling through some relatively narrow gaps, wasnít an easy task. He nevertheless dug in well, passing on to Adam White in 141st place. Fresh from a half marathon PB only last week, Adam revelled in picking off ailing runners in front and made up a brilliant 27 places and recorded an excellent time before Rob Fox took over. Rob ran strongly, making a further 10 places, setting up Andy Peat for a final assault on the overall standings. Andy, in great form of late, didnít disappoint, running an outstanding time of 17:01 to make up even more ground, passing another 21 athletes to finish in 83rd position. The quality of the races at Mansfield and the achievement in competing so well against such tough, nationally recognised opposition shouldnít be underestimated.

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