Rugby and Northampton showed their strength at the Midland Counties Cross Country Championship at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough, on Saturday 25th January. Three first places, Arthur Tilt (Under 13 boys), and local running stars Joshua Lay (Under 20 Men) and Angela Copson (Over 70 women). RNAC under 17 men’s team took the team shield for first place, while the under 20 men took silver for the team competition. More than 100 clubs took part in this year’s championship.
This year the course provided many challenges for the participating athletes. Mud aplenty with fallen trees through the wooded section, a large puddle and a steep ascend and descend. The uphill finish sapped the energy from tired legs as athletes raced for the finish line.
The under 13 girls’ race started the day with RNAC placing 6th team out of 15. Running, were Sophie Hancock (32nd), Jemima Cooper (45th), Ava Rogerson (55th), Amelie Budd-Beynon (67th), Georgia Gercs, Isla Lacey and Tamara Cave. The race was won by Shaikira King in 9:30 for Wreake & Soar Valley.
Arthur Tilt was first from RNAC to take a podium position with his first-place win in the under 13 boys’ race. Arthur started strongly, putting himself on the heels of the leader for the first half of the race. He took a direct line through the large 5-metre long puddle to take first position, which he held until the end, to achieve a very convincing win in 9:34. Arthur was supported by teammates Thomas Church (31st), Isaac Hutchins-Morant (45th), William Gower (54th), Noah Unwin, Theo Clements, and Charlie Gibbs, in the 3km event over the same course as the under 13 girls.
Madeleine Jacks placed 10th in the under 15 girls’ race and was followed by her RNAC team of Grace Darcy (29th), Elspeth Unitt (49th), Olivia Williams, and Jemima Lambert. Their 4km course took in a short steep ascent and descent around one km from the finish line. Beth Rawlinson won the race for Wenlock Olympians in 13:04.
The RNAC under 15 boys’ team was missing a few of its regular competitors, nevertheless, the boys put in a great effort and did very well. Oscar Delgado-Major (37th), only his second XC race for the club, led the boys back to the finish line, followed by Benjamin Carroll (62nd), Ned Gilford (73rd), Jenson Buttrick (82nd), and Oliver Carroll. The boys ran the same 4km course as the under 15 girls’ team. Telford AC runner Daniel Galloway was first across the line in 11:44.
First for the under 17 RNAC women’s team was Sophia Hill (27th), she led teammates Megan Stenhouse and Freya Carroll over the 5km single lap course. The under 17 women’s race was won by Georgina Campbell running for Stratford-upon-Avon AC in 16:49 after a dramatic last-minute burst of speed.
A strong performance from the under 17 men’s team gave them the 1st place team shield. More than 80 points separated them from the second-placed team. Fergus Scott was first for the team to cross the line taking bronze position in the individual competition, his team consisted of Lewis Panter (8th), Tom Tyler (16th), Finlay Ward (17th), James Fletcher (23rd), Jake Louis (36th), and Joseph Comerford (43rd). The men raced over 6km on a two-lap course, the race winner was Liam Rawlings from Oswestry Olympians who completed the race in 20:07.
The senior women raced alongside those in the master running categories. 235 runners finished the 8km course that saw the ladies run a long lap and a short lap. Tilly Lea (52nd) was first from RNAC to cross the line, followed by renowned veteran athlete Angela Copson in 41:32 and 1st place within the veteran women’s over 70 category, her 8th victory in the masters event. Three more veterans completed the team with Helen Jones in 145th position on 43:01 and Zoe Shepherd just one place and four seconds behind. Minerva Chesser was 164th on 44:22. The team finished in 24th place. Charnwood AC athlete Gemma Steel completed the 8km course in 29:50.
Joshua Lay, international competitor, continued his winning streak with a third age category XC win in a row. Joshua completed the 8km race in 26:23, over 25 seconds ahead of second place. Cian Hutton and Joe Musgrove competed alongside Josh in the under 20’s race finishing in 24th and 26th places respectively.
A tremendous well done to everyone that took part in the championship.