National Cross Country Relays 2017 – Berry Hill Park Mansfield

At the unearthly hour of 7.30am on a Saturday morning a motley set of team managers and a considerable number of athletes assembled at the Oval awaiting the team coach to the National Cross Country Relays in Mansfield.  After a brief panic and questions such as ‘did you book the coach?’ our transport arrived and we loaded up and were away a few minutes late, phew.

Arriving in Mansfield it was a team effort to pitch the club tent and be ready for our first race of the day.


The slightly unusual start time of 11.09am saw the U17 woman 2.5km race underway, a great first leg from Juliet Hodder (9.20) put the team into 14th place, a 2nd leg from Katie Thompson (9.46) moved the team up to 13th with Catherine Gallagher (9.49) closing out a superb team performance for 12th place.  Meanwhile Erin Davies (10.14), Phoebe Croft (10.15) and Eleanor Dobson (12.09) all ran well to finish 10th ‘B’ team.Next up were the U13 boys followed by the U13 girls both over 2km, Will Sutcliffe (7.18) opened with an impressive run to place the team 27th, actually only 28 seconds off the leaders.  Good runs from Will Strickley (7.47) and Alex Poulston (7.27) brought the team home is a very respectable 18th place.  The club again showed its strength in depth with a 15th placed ‘B’ team of Jack Strickley (7.46), Aodhan Corr (9.13) and Harry Kaye (7.55).  Due to other commitments the U13 girls were down to Anne Fraser (9:14) and Ella Heap (10.13), but both came away smiling and having enjoyed the mud.The junior and U17 mens’ races were both run over 3km.  The former saw Joe Wigfield (9.11) in his first year at this age group produce a strong run for 14th place on the opening leg, Michael Rooke (10.23) and Ieuan Kearney (11.06) both of whom also have another year in this age group completed the team.  In the U17 men’s race both Tom Spence (9.36) for the ‘A’ team and Arran Kearney (9.59) for the ‘B’ team ran excellent first legs, these were backed up with good runs from Martin Hurst (10.14) and Jacob Brophy (10.16) in the ‘A’ team and Sam Tempest (11.27) in the ‘B’.It was back to 2km for the U15 girls and U15 boys.  Ellen Mary Kearney (7.35) in her first year of this age group got the team off to a great start, she was followed on the 2nd leg by Isobel Hodder (8.04) who moved the team up 6 places, on the final leg Lucy Hignett (8.19) stuck to the task right to the line, there were 7 teams within following 6 seconds, to bring the team home in 22nd place in a race with over 100 complete teams!  Scarlet Liddy (8.13), Heidi Slater (9.06) and Rachel Hurst all ran really well to complete another Wirral ‘B’ team.  On the opening leg of the U15 boys race Louis Johnston (6.41) got the team off to an fantastic  start being only 13 seconds off the lead in 15th place, a good 2nd leg from Daniel Hayes (7.13) and a strong finish from Finan Johnston (7.02) brought the team home on 17th place.  Not forgetting a well done to Thomas Longman (8.53) as a first leg ‘B’ running.Time to pack up, with the senior men warming up for their 5km event and a number of the juniors ‘busy’ playing football the rest of the team rally around the gets things moving in the direction of the coach.  Last on the coach was Steve Spence (19.19) having run the first leg for the Men’s team and warmed down with a sprint to the car park.  The results suggest that Will Ferguson (20.27), Kieran Morgan (19.58) and Ronan Kearney (20.45) brought the team home in 106th.

All in all a very enjoyable team day out.  Some good running, some great running and excellent results, plenty of mud, but a slight lack of cake.  Well done to all those that ran and a thank you to Norman, Pam, Ronan and all the other helpers that made it happen.

John Heap.

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