Weekly report Nov 10th 19

Saturday was the second round of the Chiltern Cross Country league and Gade Valley Harriers had a record number of ladies make the journey to Teardrops Lake in Milton Keynes in wet and windy conditions, which made the course muddy and slippery and everything that cross-country is supposed to be. Twenty four female members arrived at the start-line of the 3.6-mile race to embrace a course which was flat for the majority but had two short, steep hills, of which runners went straight up one side, and then down the other.
Teresa Reason led the team throughout and managed to finish in the top one-hundred of the event which was incorporating the National Cross Challenge and the Oxford University v RAF grudge match, meaning a bigger than usual field. Reason completed the course in 25:51, just ten seconds ahead of Kathleen Smith (26:01). New member Heather Taylor (27:29) made her cross-country debut and put in an impressive performance to finish as third club member, ahead of a group of seven Harriers who all crossed the line within less than a minute, and thirty places of each other. Rossiana Mee (28:12) ensured she finished a split second ahead of Amy Button (28:13) who had arrived at the start line after the race had started due to traffic delays on her way from her new residence in Birmingham.
Victoria Crawley-Wise (28:30) finished just a few seconds ahead of Sam Raffety (28:33) and Kim Morgan (28:36), while Claire McDonnell (28:56) recovered from a fall which resulted in her winding herself with a spike from her own shoe to finish ahead of Alice Cook (28:58) who was competing in the league for the first time.
Tracey Cotton (29:21) and Lizzy Andrews (29:40) both crossed the line inside half-an-hour, and Isabel Wilson (31:23) was the second over 65 year-old to complete the course despite taking a tumble going down the last hill, and she was followed just five seconds later by Bethan Heaton (31:28), with Natasha Gibbs (31:40) just a few positions further back.
Angeline Cottrill (32:12), Susie Ivin (33:10) and Helen Cook (33:51) were the next trio of ladies to finish, and then Mary McCluskey (35:38) – who was celebrating her birthday- helped Gemma Tucker (35:50) and Sam Sparks (35:51) in their inaugural fixture’s, and they crossed the line in consecutive places, with fellow debutant Caryn Robinson (36:17) just behind them. Claire Pellett (37:56) and Helen Heathcote (38:20) completed the record turnout for the black, geen and reds.
As soon as the ladies had finished churning up the park, it was the turn of the men’s team, which was by comparison, rather short on numbers, and as a result of the National Cross Challenge and Oxford Uni v RAF match taking place the Harriers’ first finisher was as far back as 226th. Michael Linden (38:47) finished almost a minute ahead of any of his club-mates, and Dylan Wendleken (39:40) was the only other member to complete the 5.8 mile, two-and-a-half lap course in under forty minutes.
Timothy Abbott (40:07) kept Hamish Shaw (40:15) and Edward Price (40:51) at bay, and Ross Deacon (41:31) passed Simon Wallis (42:04) going up a hill, before sliding down the other side on his bottom to extend the gap over his club-mate. Wallis then held off the challenge from Phil Heaton (42:06) with a sprint finish which saw the duo cross the line in consecutive place, ahead of James Carter (42:47), who had travelled from his new residence in Birmingham just to take part in the race.
Stephen Newing (43:21) passed James Birnie (43:41) in the closing stages after the latter slipped over after one of the slippery descents, and took another competitor with him.
Nick Crowther (44:19) and Phil Mercer (44:20) crossed the line in succession, with Andy Cook (44:44) a further four places behind. Dean Kidd (46:35) and debutant Roland Kendall (48:28) wrapped up the men’s team.
On Sunday, Dave Goodman completed the iconic, hilly Athens Marathon in windy conditions in 4:10:28.