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Cross Country
English National XC relays, Mansfield, Saturday 4th November 2017 Print

ImageA good day was had by all the Sparkhill athletes running at Mansfield.  The course was pretty firm under foot but with its undulations and tight corners it was still very testing.

The ladies raced first but unfortunately didn’t have a complete team.  Emma in her first national ran well and with a big smile afterwards said she enjoyed it.  Manisha spent time before the race making me go ‘shopping’ with her at the hoody stall.  I couldn’t contain my excitement.  Did it detract from her performance?  No, she ran very well and had enough energy later on to organize, with Tahir, the photographs.

The men completed two teams.  On the first leg Andy M was running his first national and kept James in view most of the way.  It was a commendable first run and I expect he’ll be back for more.  James (I’m not running well) put in a good run.  I really must learn to ignore him when he gives me his pre-race predictions as to his likely performance.  On the 2nd leg there was Tahir chasing John and according to Tahir it didn’t take him long to overhaul him.  I’m hoping that arms weren’t used.  Tahir ended up running 0.6 seconds faster than Andy M – talk about cutting it fine.  John bought some chips later and gave me 1 with tomato ketchup so he’s in my good books.  On the 3rd leg were Daniel and, wait for it, Shippers.  Daniel had a good run and was 4 Seconds faster than last year – well done Daniel.  Shippers made the mistake of saying he would run and borrowed shoes and vest to run.  It’s fair to say that Shippers isn’t in the best shape so congratulations to James for offering the required touchline encouragement to get Shippers to the finish.  Andy L and I ran the glory legs (okay the winners had finished before we started).  Andy said after that he was getting his pace judgement better.  I’d have been the judge of that if I’d been able to see him.  I ran one of the quickest legs of the day (9:48 as recorded on the results) but I think it is only fair to say that I didn’t run one lap that quickly and that they might have made a mistake.  I ran about 25:15 so credit to me because that is over 2 minutes quicker than last year.

I’m expecting some great photos from Tahir – so thanks to Tahir in advance.

Shippers – well done.  We completed a team because of you.

Daniel – when I say hold on to the tent hold on to the tent.  For those not there, there was a strong gust of wind as we were packing away.

As usual we were the last tent down.


Forest of Dean Half Marathon, Sunday 19th March 2017 Print

Rob Mills writes >

Last Sunday, 19 March, saw some rather early morning departures from Birmingham for the six Sparkhill Harriers travelling to the Forest of Dean for the Spring Trails Half Marathon.

Emma Donnelly, Andy Wadsworth, Stuart Minchin, Kevin Morris, Dave Pearson and Rob Mills  all completed the course in respectable times.

Happy chappies

I would describe it as a multi-terrain course run on forest tracks and hilly; definitely not a PB course!

In many places the ground was quite rocky and tree-rooty underfoot so care had to be taken, not unlike our cross-country races: just after the halfway stage one of the runners about 5 metres ahead of me tripped and performed a perfect forward roll to spring up and continue running seemingly without breaking stride - he drew a loud round of applause from those of us around him.

However while not the quickest course, it is a lovely route run through the forest with the trees giving good shelter from the strongish winds on the morning.  The race is extremely well-organised and it was good to be able to park within 150 metres of the start/finish.

Would I recommend it to other runners? Definitely yes, and I'd be happy to run it again myself.

Individual results:

 260 Andrew Wadsworth 
 MV50 29
 271 David Pearson 1:39:03 
 MV50 31
 321 Robert Mills 1:41:26 MV60 10
 863 Emma Donnelly 1:55:52 FSNR 63
 879 Stuart Minchin 1:54:31 MV50 122
 Kevin Morris 
 MV40 251 

Sparkhill men came 27th overall in the team event (three runners to count).
2257 runners participated in the event. 

Full results can be found here .

Birmingham XC League, race #4, Coundon Hall Park, Coventry, Sat 11th February 2017 Print

ImageLast race of the season at Coundon Park. Unfortunately, the result confirmed our relegation back to division 3.

 Darren Riley 
 95 Paul Webster 
 Nick Stringer
 137 Stuart Underwood 
 138 James Hannon
 142 Daniel Roulston
 153 Patrick Finnegan
 164 Andy Manning
 165 Andy Wadsworth
 176 Dave Pearson 
 184 John Goulding
 192 Tahir Ahktar
 196 Grahame Hygate
 206 Rob Mills
 226 Pete Reeves
 228 Mick Edwards
 229 Kevin Morris
 230 Craig Hinks
 242 Simon Hodges

 The team finished 15th on the day with 691pts (70 95 109 137 138 142). Overall, the result see us 16th of 17 teams and confirms our relegation.

The b team also recorded a score of 1034 pts ( 153 164 165 176 184 192)

 Full results can be found here .

Birmingham XC League, race #3, Telford, Sat 14th January 2017 Print

ImageWell received facilities and course at this new venue at the  National Sports Centre at Lilleshall. Unfortunately, we again had a depleted squad, due primarily to illness,but performed very well in the circumstances.

 Darren Riley 
 84 Paul Webster 
 Stuart Underwood 
 122 Frank Inman
 137 James Hannon
 167 Andy Manning
 174 John Goulding
 176 Andy Wadsworth
 199 Pete Reeves
 213 Craig Hinks
 215 Andy Carroll
 217 Rob Mills
 222 Mick Edwards

The A team  finished on 688 points (59 84 119 122 137 167) - 15th in the division. After 3 fixtures we are 16th overall with 2192 points.

The B Team recorded a result of 1194 points (174 176 199 213 215 217) .

Full results can be found here .

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