Har­ri­ers’ show of force at Mans­field

Stockport Express - - Sport - ATH­LET­ICS SUE GARRONE

ANEW record was set even be­fore the Sau­cony English Cross Coun­try Re­lays got un­der­way on 4th Novem­ber, with an un­prece­dented 1243 teams en­tered.

Started in 1985 in Crys­tal Palace Park with just three mens’ races, it has been held at Berry Hill Park in Mans­field since 1989 when the ladies’ event was added.

Over the years it has ex­panded and nowa­days rac­ers from the un­der 13 age cat­e­gory through to se­niors can take on the course which is run through a mix of park­land and un­du­lat­ing wood­land.

This event is ideal for ath­letes aim­ing to qual­ify later this month for the Great Bri­tain team for the Euro­pean Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships so com­pe­ti­tion was par­tic­u­larly tough.

Since the ad­vent of the event, all the top Bri­tish cross coun­try run­ners have com­peted over the course around Berry Hill Park, in­clud­ing Stock­port Har­ri­ers’ own Olympian Ross Milling­ton who was part of the win­ning un­der 15 boys team in 2003 and went on to com­pete in the 10,000 me­tre Olympic fi­nal in Rio last year.

This year Stock­port Har­ri­ers AC par­tic­i­pated in seven of the eight races and again achieved some ex­cel­lent re­sults.

In the se­nior com­pe­ti­tion (for those aged 20 or over) both the Stock­port men and women ran very well, with the four-man se­nior mens’ team com­plet­ing the 4x5km course to claim sev­enth place out of a to­tal of 179 teams in 1h:05m:15.6s, just over two min­utes adrift of Ton­bridge AC who took the ti­tle.

Jack Martin was the first Har­rier to take on the 5km course on this, the fi­nal race of the day, hand­ing over to Jack Morris in 5th place af­ter just 15m:29s, Jack took the lead with his 15m:43s leg hand­ing over to Andy Nixon who fin­ished 6th in 17m:14s and was fol­lowed by Jack Nixon who brought the team home for 7th place over­all run­ning his own leg in 16m:48s.

Just be­fore­hand the se­nior ladies had run a spec­tac­u­lar race over their 3*3km course.

Elle Ver­non ran the sec­ond fastest leg of the day bring­ing home her 3km leg in just 9m:39s, she was fol­lowed by Team New Bal­ance ath­lete and Club new­comer Anna Sil­van­der who ran 11m:09s be­fore hand­ing over to dou­ble in­ter­na­tional Louise Rudd who brought the team home in 10m:49s to fin­ish in ninth po­si­tion out of 128 teams with the im­pres­sive to­tal time of 31m:38.3s.

Ear­lier in the day the un­der 13 boys team of Thomas Man­ton (7m:01s), Fin­ley Mayoh (7m:33s) and Jack Cat­ter­all (7:21s) also ran a great race, build­ing on their re­cent North­ern Cross Coun­try suc­cess they ran very strongly over this slightly longer 2km course and fin­ished in an amaz­ing 7th out of 97 com­plete teams in a to­tal time of 21m:55.75s, with an­chor­man Jack cross­ing the line in a fast and fu­ri­ous fin­ish just 25 sec­onds adrift of even­tual win­ners Ken­dal Am­a­teur AC.

At the English In­sti­tute of Sport in Sh­effield, the first of four fix­tures of the South York­shire County Ath­let­ics As­so­ci­a­tion (SYCAA) In­door Com­bined Events Grand Prix Se­ries for 2017-18 was held for ju­niors aged 8-15 years. Ath­letes could com­pete in up to three events with scores from the first three fix­tures con­tribut­ing to­wards the end of se­ries awards.

The long jump sand pit was the source of both drama and ex­cite­ment for Stock­port ath­letes with an abun­dance of new per­sonal bests be­ing set.

In the un­der 13 girls’ com­pe­ti­tion Darcy Breen’s new 4.12 me­tre per­sonal best landed her sec­ond place, ahead of col­league Lola Unsworth in third with 4.08 me­tres.

Saf­fron Meade also in­creased her life­time best to 3.75 me­tres.

Darcy and Saf­fron also won their heats in the 800 me­tres mid­dle dis­tance event and Lola came sec­ond in hers.

In the un­der 15 girls com­pe­ti­tion Anya Dunne demon­strated re­mark­able com­po­sure when a net­ball rolled into the pit just at the mo­ment she was in mid air; man­ag­ing not only to land the jump safely, but also si­mul­ta­ne­ously claim a new Long Jump per­sonal best of 3.90 me­tres, im­prov­ing her pre­vi­ous best by 13 cen­time­tres - lucky for some.

Melissa Cox jumped over four me­tres for the first time in set­ting a mas­sive per­sonal best of 4.20 me­tres and Daisy Keigher, who came out top in the Long Jump missed the 5 me­tre mark by just one cen­time­tre with her new per­sonal best of 4.99 me­tres.

In a re­mark­able dis­play of fo­cus and de­ter­mi­na­tion Re­becca Cox jumped a new per­sonal best in ev­ery round, end­ing the day al­most half a me­tre past her pre­vi­ous life­time best with a jump of 4.38 me­tres.

Fel­low un­der 15 com­peti­tor Amy Bat­tle won the shot put at this fix­ture with an im­mense 11.45 me­tre throw, more than a me­tre fur­ther than the sec­ond placed ath­lete, and al­most half a me­tre fur­ther than she achieved when win­ning the shot put at SportCity a fort­night ago.

Team mate Daisy im­proved on her re­cent shot put per­sonal best bring­ing it up to 8.18 me­tres and Rosie Las­siter pro­duced a good con­sis­tent se­ries of throws just a few cen­time­tres shy of her own life­time record.

In the boys’ com­pe­ti­tion, not to be out­done by big sis­ter Re­becca, Ol­lie Cox (U13) jumped more than 4 me­tres for the first time, pro­duc­ing a 4.16 me­tre per­sonal best to fin­ish 4th in and Arthur Kennedy threw the shot 5.39 me­tres to claim 5th in that dis­ci­pline.

In the un­der 15s Jack Dood­son’s 4.95 me­tre ef­fort was more than enough for sec­ond place but some dis­tance be­hind the 5.47 me­tre jump pro­duced by Al­fie Bugg of City of York AC to win.

Over the bor­der in Wales, half a dozen Stock­port Har­ri­ers took on the chal­lenge of the Snow­do­nia Marathon which started just out­side Llan­beris.

Cir­cling the high­est peak in Wales the marathon, which is run mostly on tar­mac is dra­matic, spec­tac­u­lar and very de­mand­ing.

The course is rarely flat at any point, but there are three sig­nif­i­cant climbs along its 26.2 mile (42.2km) length, the first is a gru­elling climb to the top of Llan­beris Pass (Pen y Pass 1100ft) and runs from miles 2-4.5, this is fol­lowed by a long un­du­lat­ing de­scent un­til the about the half way point where there is an­other sharp climb.

The third steep up­hill sec­tion starts just be­fore the 22 mile point and climbs steeply for the best part of three miles to the top of Bwlch y Groes (1200ft) be­fore drop­ping down to the fin­ish in Llan­beris it­self.

Richard Sut­tle was the first Stock­port Har­rier back in the men’s over 45 age cat­e­gory in 3h:41m:05s, fol­lowed by Andy Tit­ley (MV55) in 3h:50m:50s and the first of the Stock­port Har­rier ladies was Les­ley Sin­clair (FV50) in 3h:54m:14s.

Next week sees the first fix­ture of the North of Eng­land Ath­let­ics As­so­ci­a­tion In­door Open at English In­sti­tute of Sport in Sh­effield for ath­letes in un­der 15 and se­nior cat­e­gories and for those who fancy some­thing longer the 9th Conwy Half Marathon will take place on Sun­day start­ing at 10:00 am on the quay­side in front of the cas­tle.

●●Re­becca Roach and Re­becca Leather (U15) in the sec­ond heat of the 60m at the SYCAA In­door Com­bined Events Grand Prix, Sh­effield

●●Stephen Cole, Les­ley Sin­clair and Ali­son Duck­worth at the Snow­do­nia Marathon

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