Saturday, 14 October 2017

North Midlands Cross Country League – Rd1, Markeaton Park, Derby

Our Veteran Woman's team
Eleven members of Grantham Running Club headed to Markeaton Park in Derby on Saturday 14th October to take part in the opening round of the 2017-18 North Midlands Cross Country League. It was the first time the club has taken part in this popular XC League, which was founded in 1946 and has around 30 clubs and 500 runners taking part in the Men’s and Women’s races.
Those who associate the cross country season with cold, wet, and muddy conditions were in for a shock on Saturday when unseasonably warm conditions saw the race take place with the thermometers reading 22C – for many this would be the warmest race of the year! Recent dry weather meant that the going underfoot was unusually firm, with many runners opting to wear trainers rather than the more traditional XC spikes. The well marked course was mostly flat, save for a pair of hills on each lap. The men ran 3 laps and approximately 10K, the women’s race was 2 laps long.
With the Senior and Veteran women racing first it was Sarah High who had the honour of being the first GRC runner to finish a North Midlands XC Race, running strongly to finish 116th and unofficially third in her age category. She was followed by Nicola Cottam (171st), Nicola Fahy (174th) and Justyna Gill (178th).
MKL first home for GRC
In the men’s race it was Matthew Kingston-Lee who was first home, finishing a commendable 44th overall and 6th V40, clocking 36:19. “I’m pretty bad at off-road running and have only run one cross country race in the past four years, so I’m really pleased to finish inside the top 50 in such a competitive race,” commented Matthew after the race. “The firm conditions helped me enormously and I benefitted from a steady start to overtake people continuously through the race.”
Next to finish for GRC was Dan Towey, who was making his race debut in a GRC vest. He suffered somewhat in the warm conditions but ran well to finish 126th overall. Behind Dan, Peter Bonner looked strong when finishing 189th, Chris Toon was 245th, just ahead of Daniel Howson and Kevin Kettle who finished 252nd and 253rd respectively, with Rick Dobbs finishing 275th.
Unfortunately the club did not field enough senior runners to complete teams. The veteran women lie thirteenth with potential to move up several positions; the veteran men are a creditable ninth out of nineteen teams.
The next race takes at Glebe Park in Corby on Saturday 11th November.
Report: MKL

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