ECCA Men’s and Women’s National Cross-Country Championships 2019, Harewood House, Leeds
Although not the wish list team, we still manage a strong showing in this year’s race
On this year’s National trip several in the party had clocked up well over twenty National excursions. Their view was that this year’s destination, the grounds of Harewood House just outside Leeds, was one of the best ever courses. The rolling hills and panoramic views made it a scenic delight. As well as a spectacular course, the event was also blessed with unseasonably mild weather and extremely dry underfoot conditions.
And what of the race. Well, as is often the case in the run-up to the event, the possible team looked as though it had potential to be right up at the sharp end of proceedings. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the way with the nature of running, on paper teams don’t necessarily end up being the team that is actually on the start line. However, although we were certainly missing several who would likely have made a considerable difference to us in the team standings, this shouldn’t detract from the fact that those running for the club ensured we finished in a more than respectable position – both in the six and nine to score. We were 12th in the nine to score and one place higher, 13th in the six to score. All in all, a very decent showing.
As anticipated, Owen Hind was our first man home. He’ll no doubt be a bit frustrated that his run didn’t reflect the form he’s been in. To begin with it looked as though it was going well as in the early stages Owen was well up in the race – just off the leading group. Unfortunately, though, not far into the race I believe Owen started feeling a bit below par and drifted back in the field. Going past supporters toward the end of the first lap he certainly didn’t look as though he was enjoying it. However, he rallied and came home 80th – a position he might have been disappointed by, but then one he should maybe reflect was positive in the way he hung in and rallied. Next in was Chris Greenwood just outside the top hundred (108th). Perhaps understandably Chris was a bit miffed not to be inside the hundred, but make no mistake his was a good run. As per usual, Dave Morgan had a strong second half and ended up a very creditable (137th). It meant on this occasion he got the better of Dame Dibaba (159th). Nevertheless, as predicted, Dame did actually make it to the front of the entire field at the top of the hill at the start of the race – a feat that was probably more difficult than usual due to the tricky pen position our team were allotted. From then on it was a really typical Dame race although this time Dave got the better of him. Kent AC’s fifth scorer on the day was Ben Harding (184th). He hadn’t been at his best at the last Surrey League and this run was much more encouraging. As he perhaps continues to get some consistency back in his training, Jordan is moving in the right direction again. Jordan Weaver was our sixth scorer at (218th). Next up our New York marathon pair, again not far apart, Pete Lighting coming home (276th) with Sean Fitzpatrick close up in (282). In the nine to score, Niall Stewart making his National debut for us was our ninth scorer, ensuring all our scorers were inside three hundred. Nial was (292). The full results are available now so a click on the team results will show all the other solid, admirable runs we had from our men on the day. In total I believe we actually had 26 runners compete in this year’s event.
A strong Leeds City AC got the better of Tonbridge in the team competition. It was a team that contained occasional Kent AC second claimer, Phil Sesemann. A very close tussle in the closing stages resulted in Mahamed Mahamed of Southampton just getting the better of Emile Cairess of Leeds to claim the title.
As is customary at National, there was of course an evening out to be enjoyed. Your correspondent probably comes into Mike Ashley’s lightweight category so bowed out early. My fellow scribe Georgina made it to the night club so may have a bit more to enlighten you about. However, my sources tell me the roof top bar was a great success. Although it seems we didn’t have anyone to match Herne Hill stalwart, Waldy Pauzers, on the dance floor. Reports suggested that if he made it on to Strictly, he’d be scoring straight 10’s. Mind you, although not top in the dancing stakes, in the beer consumption category we probably have a world lead. Mick Barlow’s capacity has always been legendary and shows no sign of diminishing with age. I was enjoying my early Spoons breakfast when joined by Mick having his third pint on an early morning Sunday stroll that was to take him to all four of the Leeds, Wetherspoons. So a four pint stroll after the night out that didn’t end until the early hours – that’s quite some going. Maybe even some of the noted beer guzzlers from northern powerhouse teams would find it hard to keep pace!
On a more serious note, I’m sure I speak for everyone in giving a note of thanks to Dave Morgan for the effort he put into organizing the trip. He really did a superb job.
As we were some way from having our strongest team out, this National can still definitely be seen in a very positive light for the club. However, it is to be hoped that in the upcoming relays we can field a team that truly reflects the strength and ability the club undoubtedly has.
Team Result (6 to score)
1 Leeds 110; 2 Tonbridge 191; 3 Bristol & West 313 .…13 Kent AC 886 ?
In the female race we were dealt a hot time slot and a rush to the start line after a delayed train. Despite a bit of pre-race stress the team put on a strong performance to finish in 18th place overall in a field of 114. The course was while absolutely stunning a really tough one with many hills and a downhill stretch that included a ridiculous amount of potholes! Our amazing Club President Ellie Brown unfortunately fell and fractured her ankle. We all are wishing you a speedy recovery Ellie and look forward to seeing you back running later in the year.
Our first runner home was Katie Rowland in an impressive 86th position against a slew of the strongest runners in the country. Next was Sarah Hanley in 120th position showing us all what a strong cross country runner she is. Third scorer was also very strong cross country runner Eliza Grant in 215th and rounding out the scoring team was Georgina Wiley in 234th. Well over 1000 women took to the course. Our other runners were Victoria Buck, Kate Williams, Ellie Brown, Susie Fairbrass, Abby Clynes, Alexa Parker and Sarah Dowling. Sarah has been struggling with achilles issues over the last few weeks and put on a good performance to finish the race.
The women now have the last Surrey League this coming weekend as the final meet of the XC season.