There is only one place to start this week’s update and that is with Owen Ulfig who became the first athlete in any age group from Wolverhampton & Bilston AC to be crowned National Cross-Country champion.
Owen came into the finish in a pack of 4 athletes and produced a barnstorming finish to cross the line in 1stplace in one of the most competitive finishes of the day. Owen’s winning time of 14.40 was enough to take the U15 boys gold medal by the smallest of margins in front of 2nd place athlete George Wilson of Cleethorpes AC who clocked 14.41, Matthew Drummond Clark of Preston Harriers was 3rd in 14.42 and Noah Scott Donkin on Huntingdonshire AC was 4th in 14.43. Only 3 seconds covering the first four places. Chasing Owen home over the 4k distance was Oscar Davis who placed 52nd in 15.57, Sam Thursfield was 64th in 16.04 and Jack Stockton was 127th in 16.49. The club finished just out of the team medals in 5th place.
In the U15 girls’ race, again over 4k, Megan White placed 106th in 18.48, Scarlett Willoughby was 225th in 20.47 and Ruby Buggins was 273rd in 22.26.
There were two representatives from the club in the U17 girls race over 5k with Isobelle Jones running 19.10 to take 14th place and Millie Williams was 177th in 25.01. And two in the U17 boys race over 6k with James Neilson placing 52nd in 22.40 and Zakari Sandhu-Whitton finishing in 152nd in 24.45.
The club had another two in the U13 boys race over 3k with Fred Jones and Sam Ball both working hard throughout to finish 7th in 10.15 and 15th in 10.53 respectively. And in the U13 girls race over the same distance Grace Hendy placed 53rd in 12.19, Lucy Horton was 183rd in 13.43 and Alice Cattell was 228th in 14.39.
There were two excellent performances in the 6k Junior Women’s race with Ella Semple crossing the line in 24.59 to take 19th place and Beth Rawlinson finished in 25.08 to take 23rd position.
In the 8k Senior Women’s race Amelia Samuels finished in 21st place in 31.15, Emily Simmonds put the drama of not being able to find anyone at the venue before the start of her race and the stress that involved behind her to finish in 389th place in 41.19 and Joanne Hackett was 442nd in 42.40.
There were some big names in the Junior Men’s race, the winner being Aldershot, Farnham & District athlete and European Champion, Will Barnicoat. Rubbing shoulders with a European Champion, Louie Lambeth placed 71st in 36.12 and Joe St Quinton was 136th in 39.49.
And the last race on the card, the Senior Men’s race over 12k, saw the biggest representation from the club with 9 athletes toeing the start line. The club finishing in 63rdplace as a team out of 99 clubs who were able to field 6 athletes to score, there were another 168 clubs who failed to get 6 out on the day including the big names of Birchfield Harriers, Gateshead, Telford AC and Western Tempo. In a field of about 1500 Dan Maskew was first back for the club in 352nd in 43.22, Ben Foster placed 416th in 44.15, Gareth Briggs was 793rd in 49.21, Rich Amor-Wilkes was 801st in 49.26, Dan Brazier placed 1008th in 52.31 and Pete Hood was 1078th in 53.45 to make up the six counters. Dave Norman was 1214th in 56.39 having lost time after losing a shoe in the only muddy section of the course, Rob Edwards was 1291st in 59.10 and Duncan Davies was 1356th in 1.01.35 and immediately said he had retired after crossing the line.
Elsewhere Mike Webb ran in the Leicestershire half Marathon at Prestwold Hall finishing in 1.49.25 to take 440th place and further afield over the same distance the seldom seen Roger Grand took part in the Malta Half Marathon taking 110th place in 1.29.44.