Once again, the highlight of the local cross-country season, the Lincolnshire Cross Country Championship took place on Saturday 7th January.
With little time to dust oneself down from the excesses of the festive season, it was straight into what can only be described as one of the most interesting, intense, and downright toughest events of the year!
The deluge brought by the storms of December and early January had, unsurprisingly, pock marked the landscape and swelled the infamous river crossings – yes plural! – so much so that legitimate fears for safety resulted in re-route across the bridge on one of the crossings.
Curiously, or kindly the weather on the day abated with only the course waiting to wallop several bells out of the runners.
First off, the Men’s race of approximately 9.5km.
First home for GRC was Men’s Captain Samuel Jepson in 22nd in 42:55, stacking it early on but recovering well.
The experienced Peter Bonner, another strong acquittal finishing 31st in 44:35.
The remarkably clean James McMullen enjoyed his Biscathorpe baptism placing 47th (46:56).
Road loving Robin Atter was back for more torture (56th in 48:45) and the experienced Rob Howbrook showed his class, finishing 2nd in the V60 Cat (61st overall in 49:21).
A spirited, Jason Walker followed in close touch, finish 65th in 50:27 fighting all the way to the line.
‘Paul Squared’ finished next both praising the test, or perhaps decrying it’s brutality – Paul Davis 75th in 53:35 and Paul Jepson in a neat 55:55.
Craig Drury’s favourite event of the year saw him place 87th in 57:49.
The last event of the day saw the Ladies race over the 5.7k distance.
Holly Durham eventually the leading lady, even gunning a sprint finish to see off rival and maintain her 8th place finish. Her time for posterity was 29:26.
It was the gutsy Rachel Hamilton who perhaps had the story of the day, recovering from a bout of covid the week before, she was nevertheless running strongly before the last river crossing saw her fall in… well… spectacular fashion. It emerged after that this fractured her toe in the process. Still finishing in 30:59 and ‘enjoying’ herself.
Harriet Morgan’s 12th place was indicative of her solid run for the XC loving gazelle.
Jo Grace and Ladies Captain Sarah High were in very close order as Jo just pipped Sarah to the line in 32:57 and 32:59 respectively.
Next the returning Caroline Davis and event debutant Zane Wojtowicz both relishing the challenge and find some delight in the sense of achievement. Caroline 21st in 33:47 and Zane 23rd in 34:37.
With smiles writ large upon their faces all the way round and feeling the camaraderie and that special cross-country spirit woven into the club, Paula Ebbins and Rosalind Sadler brought the ladies team home. Finishing in 39:03 and 39:05 and 34th and 35th place.
A grand day out encapsulating the beauty and beast of Cross-Country running.
Special thanks to all the organisers, officials and volunteers for the work setting up and on the day!
Group Photo: C/O: Rachel Hamilton
Action photos c/o Colin Wright