Over a thousand teams took part in the Saucony English Cross Country Relays held at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield on the 2nd November. Once again the popularity of the venue proved it was the place to be after the prolonged changeover to Mansfield DC running the Park as Corporate Trustees. After a sunny beginning to the day the rain poured down from the start of the first event the Junior Women to the start of the final event the Senior Men’s race. The weather didn’t put the runners off and large fields took part in all the races the biggest being the Senior Men with 190 teams starting.
The first race of the 10 on the programme as stated was the Jnr Women and in close race Wolverhampton & Bilston were the winners in 27.10 just 3 secs up on Herne Hill Harriers. The U17 Women followed and Aldershot Farnham & Dist came through on the last leg to win by 15 secs in 28.22.
In the U13 Boys race, South London Harriers were the winners, they were always in the top 3 throughout the race and won in a time of 21.37. Wolverhampton & Bilston won their second race of the day and the fourth race of the afternoon in the U13 Girls event, taking the lead on leg 2 they went on to win in 23.43.
The weather deteriorated as mid day approached and the Jnr Men were next up and London Club, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers ran best in the conditions winning in 27.12, with Henry McLuckie leading throughout the last lap. The U17 Men followed, this was won by Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow but who would have thought this after their first leg runner came in 23rd, improving to 10th on leg 2, Will Barnicoat then stormed through on the last leg to bring his Club home to win in 28.50, 10 secs clear.
Vale Royal were the easy winners of the U15 Girls race, their winning margin was 23 secs and their winning time 22.58 but they to were well down after leg 1 where they finished 18th.
The closest and most exciting race of the day came next with the U15 Boys battling it out. With 200m left in their race there were 4 Clubs in contention. However with all clubs sprinting for the line, leg 2 leaders South London Harriers hung on to win in 21.04, 2 secs up on 2nd placed Vale Royal with Cambridge & Coleridge 3rd, 1 sec back and Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow 4th with the same time as Cambridge. What a great crowd pleaser and again very competitive.
The Senior races followed. first was the Senior Women but where the U15 Boys was close the Snr Women’s race was a procession as Aldershot, Farnham & Dist led from gun to tape to win by 59 sec a 10 sec lead on leg 1 stretched further throughout the race and Lauren Hall brought the team home in 31.09. The defending Champions, Leeds City finished a clear 2nd while Cambridge & Coleridge were 3rd.
The final race of the afternoon the Senior Men was another good one, early leaders were Wreake & Soar Valley with Sam Stabler but Leeds City the defending Champions gradually came to the fore with Graham Rush on leg 3. So the scene was set for a battle on the last leg between Mark Scott of Cambridge & Coleridge and Emile Caress of Leeds City, however Mark Scott couldn’t match Emile Caress’s form and Leeds City came home winners in a time of 1hr 5mins 14secs, 31 secs faster than Cambridge & Coleridge while Bedford & County came through late to grab 3rd.
After a great days racing with the medals shared around the Country, the athletes and spectators went home to dry out.
Photos from Steve Gaines 1 Under 15 Boys wait for their turn, 2 Leaders in the Senior Women’s Race on leg 1,
3 The Senior Men get off to a good start