The Cross Country season has kicked off with several members of Grantham Running Club heading to Markeaton Park in Derby last weekend for the first fixture of the North Midlands Cross Country League. The sunny weather conditions were a pleasant change from the heavy rain of the previous day, although the course was ‘gloriously sloppy, slippy and slidey’ in places as a result.
The ladies were first up in a 3 lap, 6K race over a course that, although flat for the first half, had some testing hilly sections in the second half of each lap. Anne Greenwood, in her first cross country appearance for the club, had a perfectly paced race and was first GRC lady home in a time of 31.49. Sarah High was second for GRC and pleased with her run which sets a benchmark for future fixtures, she was followed by cross country stalwart Caroline Davis in 34.06.
Andrea Ward was next back with a strong performance which marks the start of her training for next year’s London Marathon. Andrea was closely followed by Michelle Parczuk who put in a great effort to bring the team home.
As a result of their efforts the GRC Vet Ladies start the League in 6th place.
In the men’s 4 lap, 10K race, the quality of the field was fantastic to see. GRC’s Men’s Team Captain, Sam Jepson, who was participating in his first XC after a two year hiatus and in his first North Midlands fixture, was first back for GRC in 46.31. Andrew Pask put in a strong performance to bring him home in second place for the club. Next was Rob Howbrook, who acquitted himself well with an impressive run. Also finishing strongly for the club was Peter Jennings, who now thinks that he might need some spikes! Peter was closely followed by Jason Walker, who found the course tough and very soft underfoot, yet managed to push on to finish in 55.58.
Putting in a fine, consistent effort Paul Davis was next back in a time of 57.44, followed by experienced cross country and ultra runner Andrew MacAllister. Craig Drury put in a dogged performance to bring the team home.
It was great to see so many taking part in XC and, overall, all who participated loved it – it is definitely a fixture to do again next year. The next North Midlands fixture is on 11th November at Wickstead Park in Kettering.