Lamb and Birch the cross country stars

Derek Birch
Derek Birch

Chris Lamb set himself up for the first Birmingham League race with an excellent run in the Mens National Cross Country Relays held at Berry Hill Park in Mansfield.

The Rugby & Northampton athlete ran the fastest leg for the club over a boggy 5k course, which included a few twist and turns through a wooded area.

Lamb recorded a time of 17 mins 43 secs on the opening leg and this gives the current Midland indoor 800m champion confidence going into this weekends first League race.

Also in the four man team was former World Masters 800m champion John Gercs who was back in action after a lengthy lay off and he ran the second fastest for R&N on leg two with 18.40.

Terry Egan was competing in the event for the first time in 11 years and he recorded a respectable 20.47 to hand over to the reigning club cross country champion Paul Birch who made up eight places with a time of 18.50 to bring the team home in 73rd place.

The men also had a B team taking part and John Hurst had a good run when he was timed at 20.28 on leg one and handed over to Brendan Moen who was the fastest in the team when he advanced 23 places with a time of 19.55.

Another club stalwart Brian Summers recorded 21.07 and Neil Willsher closed off the team with 21.15 in 110th spot.

The Senior Ladies ran over a 3k course and the R&N team finished in 69th place with all three athletes very closely matched on the day. Michelle Leach started the ball rolling with her 13.27 and then came Louise Thompson with 13.22 to move up 19 places and Rachel Shaw on the anchor leg recorded 13.28 to take another six places.

The opening race in the Birmingham Cross Country League Division Two takes place on Saturday for Rugby & Northampton’s men at Leamington and after last seasons relegation they are hoping for a quick return to the top flight.

Joining Chris Lamb and Paul Birch in the team should be Stuart Nelson, Rory Grant, Luke Robinson and Chris Perez.

The ladies also run their first Midland League at the same venue and will be relying on club champion Jo Pulsford to make an appearance along with Maree Jesson and Angela Copson.

n Rugby Tri Club member Derek Birch won the club’s second Handicap Cross Country race this weekend (Sunday, November 6) by successfully estimating that he would complete the 5.8-mile run in 45 minutes and actually completing it in 45 mins and 1 sec.

Starting at the Bridge Nursery in Tomlow Road, Napton, each of the 24 Tri Club members had to estimate how long they thought the course would take them, hand in their watches and then navigate the route using a highlighted local footpath map.

The winner (in this format) is the runner who succeeds in finishing closest to the time they estimated.

It made for some interesting running with muddy fields playing a huge part in the latter stages of the race. While not picking up the handicap prize, Stuart Hopkins posted the fastest course time of 38 mins and 30 secs closely followed by Peter Belfield at 38 mins and 40 secs.

If you are interested in taking part in triathlon more information concerning the club’s adult and junior sections can be found at