There is only one place to start with a weekend round up and that is in Mansfield as a group of young athletes travelled to the former mining town in the East Midlands to take part in the ECCA National Cross Country Relays and even in that rarefied company they were not outclassed, far from it, with the club amongst the medals once again.
Pride of place went to the U13 boys who became national champions coming home with the gold medal in their age group. The team of O Davis (7.12.20) F Jones (7.02.85) and S Ball (7.22.90) finishing in a total time of 21.38.90, only 2 seconds ahead of Windsor Slough & Eton who took silver and 13 seconds ahead of Bronze medallists Blackheath & Bromley Harriers. The B team of S Thursfield (7.13.60) W Bassford (8.07.20) and J Stockton (7.49.50) were 19th in 23.10.30. And L Asbury (8.23.95) finished as an incomplete team. The U13 Girls finished in 39th with L Horton (8.38.85) G Hendy (9.21.80) and T Rollins (9.14.85) finishing in 26.15.50.
The U15 girls finished in a very creditable 11th place with A Kind (8.00.95) I Jones (7.32.50) and R Kind (7.26.95) finishing in 23.00.40, less than 60 seconds off a bronze medal. The B team of M White (7.42.25) Z Asbury (8.12.90) M Williams (8.22.35) finished in 24.17.5) to take 34th place and the C team of R Buggins (8.06.65) S Williams (7.41.70) S Willoughby (8.32.35) came home in 36th place in 24.20.7. And there was an incomplete team of M Bassford (7.25.35) and Z Sandhu-Whitton (7.45.00) competing in the U15 Boys category.
Twenty four hours later a large group travelled to Telford for the rearranged Ironbridge Half Marathon, although moved from its original March date it was no easier towards the end of the year than it would have been at the beginning, the distance no shorter and the hills still as steep. Dan Turner was first back for the club in 6th place in 1.16.26, Rob Cartwright finished in 21st in 1.23.11, Greg Asbury was 30th in 1.29.35 taking 3rd in his age group, Shaun Bennett also claimed an age group 3rd in 32nd position with 1.29.43, Sabrina Thomas was 4th female, 1st in her age category and 41st overall in 1.31.36 even though she only decided to race midweek, Ben Pilsbury was 50th in 1.33.26, Ceri Card was 113th in 1.43.17 taking on pacing duties, Laurence Gilks was 123rd in 1.44.10, Dylan Hall was 128th in 1.44.38, Rob Carrington finished in 1.51.57 for 197th place and Vanessa Landreau was 297th in 2.01.18. Lesley Stamps finished in 2.23.58, Leny Hall in 2.24.45, Giovanna Cooper in 2.32.25 and Lee Groucutt in 2.32.26.
Jack Pickett travelled south to take part in the Reading Half Marathon coming home in 71st place in 1.16.13 and Mike Temple raced the Coventry Half Marathon finishing in a time of 1.51.24 in 696th. A couple of brave, or possibly mental, club members took part in a Lakeland Trails 15k event in Helvellyn battling through horizontal rain, flooded rocky mountain paths and steep gradients with Dave Norman coming home in a sodden 24th place in 1.17.09 and Pete Hood taking 26th place in 1.18.29.
And further afield the marathon journey continues for Dave Joynson and Gillian Mitchell as both took part in the Barcelona Marathon with Dave bagging another great time in 3.09.12 for 999th position and Gillian stopping the clock in 4.59.07.