Rob Andrew reports: Last Saturday turned out to be a great day for the club as many of us had hoped.
Against the backdrop of a superbly organised and marshalled event undertaken by many of the club’s members the men’s team won the Divisional title and secured promotion back to Division 1.
It was extra special that this promotion was achieved at our ‘home’ course, with the ladies also racing, and in front of so many enthusiastic helpers, marshalls, and supporters.
In my first race report last October I commented on the four values of the club – performance, participation, encouragement and enjoyment. They were all in abundance in every aspect of the day’s events and I hope all who were involved felt the same sense of pride in ‘our’ club. It is difficult to single out individuals at the risk of missing out on those who contributed so much, so I’ll just thank all of you who helped make this such a special day.
The race itself produced some excellent performances on a firm but demanding course. I noted that the times run at the County race here in January were generally at least 2 minutes faster than those posted by the same athletes on Saturday. This was a tough race in what were otherwise excellent conditions. Congratulations to Tom Humphries of Cannock and Staffs for an outstanding victory.
For our club Dean deserves special mention for a superb 4th place finish, as well as Andy Halliday in 6th. It was great to see Dean run so well – (well I’m told he ran well, but he was so far in front of me I didn’t actually see it !) and deliver a performance a number of us have been anticipating for some time. Andy chased him hard and is now showing excellent form after a difficult winter. He will be a real asset to the road relay teams this Spring on his favoured surface.
Myself and Gareth packed well (whatever that means) and were followed home by Jon Grix and Andy Clayton to complete the scoring for the ‘A’ team. In addition to the aforementioned there have also been key contributions to the ‘A’ team from Sean Rose, Chris Collins (both unable to race on Sat) and Adrian Fowler. The team finished 3rd on the day and won the overall division in the end by a comfortable margin.
Steve Cumley just beat Adrian Fowler to lead home the ‘B’ team who also finished 3rd on the day, with Danny Wilson, Andy Wheeler, Stuart Pearson and Matt Slater completing the scoring. Danny and Stuart showing significant improvement from the County race at Cofton in January – their times under the 2 minutes slower benchmark from that race.
Jack Roberts was first back for the ‘C’ team, chased in by Ed Hartley, Chris H-M, Bob Hockenhull and Gary Hawkesford.
Overall 23 members turned out over the course of the season, 17 on the day and 7 who completed all four league races – myself, Andy Halliday, Gareth, Danny, Stuart, Chris and Bob with many more doing at least 3. It was this overall strength that contributed to our eventual success against the likes of Cannock and Staffs in particular. Although able to call upon faster athletes they did not always turn out to compete. Strength in depth will be even more crucial next year.
Therefore a great end to a successful season and looking forward to competing in Division 1 next year. This was my fourth cross country season for the club, and I’ve now been part of three promotions and one relegation. I’m hoping that the title of this race report is prophetic. Wouldn’t that be worth working towards?
Results here. (PDF)