ATHLETICS: Cross Country League

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Gardner fights through the mud as Rugby & Northampton AC impress

William leads the way for Rugby & Northampton AC in Cross Country League

Rugby & Northampton AC had 21 athletes competing in the Birmingham & District Invitation Cross Country League, as they took to the muddy 10k course at Newbold Comyn last weekend, with William Gardner leading the way for the ‘A’ team.

Gardner completed the three-lap course in 35 minutes and 48 seconds, which earned him a 21st-place finish. Fellow 21-year-old Luke Robinson was the next athlete to cross the line for R&N, just under a minute later. Robinson’s time of 36:45 saw him come home in 36th, with both athletes recording their highest ever position.

Paul Birch was the club’s quickest over-40 runner; his time of 38:22 was enough for 87th, and he was soon joined by the fastest junior, Joe Lantsbery, who was just 10 places behind with a time of 38:41. Finishing either side of them, and completing the scoring for the ‘A’ team, were newcomers Michael Salisbury and Hizam Sheekh. Salisbury (37:13) and junior athlete Sheekh (39:41) finished 47th and 114th respectively, which gave R&N an 8th-place finish overall, out of the 16 competing teams.

The ‘B’ team also finished eighth in their section, out of a field of 12. Patrick Jelley (39:59) and Peter Belfield (40:10) were in close proximity of each other, as they finished 119th and 125th respectively. Brendan Moen was the next man home, grabbing 141st place with a time of 40:58. Vince Carroll completed the run in 42:22 for 170th place and scoring was rounded off by Paul Shotton (42:59) and Max Chippington (43:05).

R&N were out in force, with another nine runners taking part in the event. Neil Willsher recorded a time of 43:10, with Pete Thomas and Terry Egan setting respective times of 43:31 and 44:36. Another junior, Oliver Munns, was not far behind, coming home in 44:52. Colin Durrant and Dave O’Leary followed each other over the line, with just eight seconds separating the pair, recording times of 45:46 and 45:54. The final trio taking part were Olaf Knuppel (47:18), Adrian White (48:20) and Lawrence Scott (48:40), who rounded off a strong showing.

In Saturday’s Midlands Women’s League, Emily Waugh shone yet again, as she earned her best ever result in the event, finishing eighth among a record field of 369 finishers. Waugh completed the course in a time of 24:31, in a strong race that was won by Great Britain international Jess Judd (22:46). Waugh’s fellow under-23 club-mate Bethan Goddard clocked a time of 28:10 to finish 84th, and Katie Clubb was just 22 seconds behind in 92nd, which completed the scoring for the R&N team and was enough for 15th position overall, with 40 teams competing in the event.

Angela Copson finished narrowly outside the top 100, impressing with a time of 28:46 for the Masters Team, with Catherine Williams following that up with a time of 30:17. The scoring was completed by Wendy Jennings - a time of 32:48 helping the Masters to 19th place out of the 30 competing teams.

Elsewhere, Tilly Lea crossed the line in 29:14 to earn 118th place, while Leisha Mulvey made her debut in the race and was not far behind, clocking a time of 29:42 to finish just 17 places further back. Sian Williams clocked 37:13, with a further three runners completing R&N’s 12-strong showing. Christine Jerams (42:39) and Marian Allen (42:45) finished within seconds of each other, before Valerie Cross completed a good day for R&N with a time of 45:34.