ATHLETICS: Cross country and indoor success

Max Chippington
Max Chippington

Rugby & Northampton AC


Rugby & Northampton Athletic Club also see personal records fall at Birmingham Indoor Games

​Emily Waugh saved her best until last as she secured her highest-ever Midlands Women’s Cross Country League placing on the final weekend of the annual competition.

Waugh shot around the course in 23 minutes and 13 seconds to earn fourth spot, missing out on the top three by 14 seconds, and finishing just over a minute behind winner Nicola Sykes, who powered home for Bournville Harriers. Saturday’s result meant Waugh also finished fourth overall in the series.

Fourth proved to be the theme of the day for Waugh and her team-mates, who finished one place below the podium positions in Division Two. Junior athlete Tilly Lea stepped up to the senior ranks to help R&N to fourth by equalling her best-ever position on the day, taking 80th in 27.11. She was joined across the line by veterans Angela Copson (28.08), Christine Jerams (37.12) and Marian Allen (39.15), who earned respective positions of 97th, 255th and 276th, with Jerams setting her new highest placing.

The Men’s Birmingham & District Cross Country League Division 1 also came to its conclusion at the weekend, with the R&N ‘A’ team securing 12th place overall following the action in Cheltenham. Paul Birch was the first R&N athlete over the line, clocking 33.39, which was enough for 60th position. Seb Palmer (34.48) followed him in 84th, before Neil Willsher (35.45), Alistair McDonnell (36.16) and Mike Andrews (36.21) secured best-ever placings of 106th, 115th and 116th respectively. Vince Carroll completed the scoring for R&N with a time of 37.06, which saw him take 129th.

The ‘B’ team took seventh spot overall in the ‘B’ division after finishing ninth on the day. Max Chippington (37.49), Jonathan Taylor (38.33) and Olav Knuppel (40.38) secured their individual-best times, coming home in respective positions of 142nd, 161st and 181st. Sandwiched among those athletes were Nigel Roberts in 155th, (38.20), 170th-placed Pete Thomas (39.32) and Steve Heighway, in his first league race for 14 years, who finished in 174th with a time of 40.05. Terry Egan made his 109th league appearance in the event and his time of 41.07 earned him 185th spot.

Meanwhile, a number of R&N athletes broke records at the weekend’s Birmingham Indoor Games.

Sam Owusu and Iola Grant picked up two personal bests apiece, with U17 Owusu racing the 60 metres in 7.44 seconds, before leaping 5.45m in the long jump. U15 athlete Grant also set a PB in the 60-metre sprint with a time of 8.87, and she continued her form over 200m by crossing the line in 29.50.

Owusu’s fellow U17 club-mates Eleanor Broome and Brittany Wood also set new personal records in the women’s events. Broome clocked a time of eight seconds flat in the 60m sprint, while Wood took on the hurdles over the same distance in a time of 9.41.

There was plenty more joy for the club in the hurdles, with four athletes setting PBs over 60 metres. Sam Tutt (9.02) in the U15 men’s, Georgina Woodward (10.19) in the U15 girls, Milan Clues (9.77) in the U17 women’s and Molly Barnett (9.15) in the U20 women’s were all on form as they re-wrote their personal record books.

Matthew Broome got his indoor season under way with a best-ever leap of 5.24 in the U15 long-jump, while Caleb Downes also set the bar high on his season-opener, the U20 athlete sprinting home the 60 metres in a phenomenal 7.00. Katie Clubb impressed with her second PB in as many weeks by storming to success in the U20 800m race, winning in 2:23.67,- over seven seconds clear of her nearest competitor.

This weekend sees the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League reach its climax, with R&N looking to secure individual and team honours. The club are comfortably clear in the overall team competition but interest remains in the individual events, with Adam Caulfield and Adam Searle both in with a chance of securing perfect scores and gold medals in the fifth and final round at Perry Park, Birmingham.