Saturday 20th October marked the start of the Cross Country season with the traditionally season opener in the form of the Cross Country Relays. This year’s event was held in Wolverhampton at Aldersley Leisure Village which in itself posed a challenge due to the road works on the approach and the full car park leaving runners queuing for days…
The support the rise of the Maroon 14 athletes from our club took part with two full ladies team and two full men’s teams. Each individual had to run a leg of 6K, for half the squad it was their first cross country experience and only time will tell if they will be back (10th Nov save the date!).
For a cross country race the runners were truly spoilt with glorious warm sunshine beating down on a fairly dry but challenging course. Both male and female races started at 1400 sharp ignoring the fact that some team were still awaiting their full complement thanks to the car park queue.
Both ladies and mens squads bounced back from a few drop outs in the week leading to the race and on the day but the recent resurgence of the club ensured that all four teams entered were covered – a true measure that the club has grown and has active members willing to represent the club.
Best looking team manager Dave Long who also acted as chief babysitter, dog watcher (and also a drop out) had his hands full at one point . To add to his misery he was devastated to find that Kate forgot the milk for the all-important race cuppa , however he didn’t let that distract the runners who all performed magnificently.
Ladies (3 x 6km) :
Kate Facey 33:54 Katie Jayne 45:58 Emily-Jane Elwell 33:41
Elaine Donnelly 34:48 Michelle Cresswell 40:59 Heather Davies 36:51
Runner of the day for the ladies has to go to Emily who in her first outing as a West Bromwich Harrier, in her first cross country race ran the fastest time – well done. Elaine Donnelly, Katie, and Heather all competing in their first XC race. The ladies spirt stirred on by Michelle (“ I will run anywhere just give me a lift” ) Cresswell and by Kate Facey’s social media campaign is a pleasure to see. Next is the Midlands League where West Brom ladies are returning to action after a few years absence.
Men: (4x 6km):
Karl Moore 22:50 Russell Collins 25:55 Dominic Ashton 25:40 Pete Donnelly 28:26
Gary Clifton 26:36 Pa White28:34 Tom Heyes 27:25 Stephen Coley 30:55
Several mentions have to be made the mens team, Karl Moore continues his rise to form leading the team home with the fastest time by 3 minutes. Pete Donelly last minute call up and a good solid run. Gary Clifton, despite some time away from the club ran the fourth fastest time for West Bromwich Harriers, Tom Heyes – first time in spikes (and without his bottle!) and finally Steve (incommunicado) Coley who despite the team mangers poor communication skills still brought the club home on the final leg. That said without Russell, Dom and Andy we wouldn’t have a team and the enjoyment had was plain to see. From this race can see some healthy interclub rivalry setting in for the league races? Can Tom chase down Gary C? Russ and Doms 15 second difference here should see them running head to head in the league similar to Andy and Pete who were 8 seconds apart… who will be crowned XC champion out of your pairs?
Well done all – next event that we need to support is the league race at Coventry based Northbrook AC Ladies 1.30 start men 2.30.