On 30th October 10 members of Grantham Running Club took part in the first round of this year’s Lincolnshire Cross Country League. The event was hosted by Grantham Athletic Club at Madges Farm, Stroxton. The four round series will also see events taking place at Lincoln, Louth and Boston.
The course at Stroxton undulates its way around three fields that are normally occupied by a flock of sheep, keeping the grass short and ideal for running. The weather on the day was cool and dry, and the course was generally firm under foot with only a couple of muddy areas to negotiate.
The 6.06km senior and veteran women’s race consisted of one medium and one long lap of the course, with the senior and veteran men completing an extra medium lap making a race distance of 8.64km.
First to run were the men and quickest out of the blocks for GRC was Peter Bonner. The field quickly became spread out and the race for many was a solitary one. At the end of the first lap Martin Carter was forced to retire as a precaution after picking up a niggle.
Peter Bonner was the first of the GRC contingent to cross the finish line in a fine 8th place, despite a fall in one of the slippery sections. Following on with some solid running was Peter Jennings 25th, Paul Davis 29th, Andrew MacAllister 33rd and Craig Drury 35th.
Next it was the turn of the ladies, and it was Michelle Parczuk who stroked to the front of the GRC quartet. The smiling team seemed to be making light work of the course until what seems to have been an unfortunate marshalling error sent some of the leading ladies, including Michelle, around an extra loop adding an estimated 800m to their race distance.
Leading GRC across the line was Vicki Hardy in 16th position followed closely by team-mates Paula Ebbins in 21st, Andrea Ward in 22nd and an unlucky Michelle Parczuk in 25th place.
As always with cross country events, the camaraderie shown between club members and between the various clubs participating, created a warm atmosphere that many more runners should experience for themselves. Some would say racing in its purest form.