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Cross Country
Birmingham XC League, Div 3, race #1, Coundon Park, Saturday 10th November 2018 Print
Cross country proper starts now. Flat, fast course which only cut up a bit towards the end of the race (thanks rain/ladies). Grim conditions at first which changed completely by the 2nd lap. It was noticacle that it was a very big field with 280 finishers from 21 teams. Compare that to first fixture  last year - 178 finishers from 18 teams.

Well done especially to Michael on his XC debut. and  Andy Law who was a counter for the first time.

Great to run with the ladies and have their support.

Thanks to Gavin for doing the finish line tokens and general support from the ladies, Gavin, Paul Shipway and good to see the ever young Dave Winter et al.

 Darren Riley
 76 Michael Wade 
 88 Paul Webster
 92 Nick Stringer
 96 Simon Hodges 
 Andy Law
 182 Barry O'Neill
 Graham Hygate 
 196 Patrick Finnegan 
 197 Rob Mills
 204 Andy Manning
 275 Mick Edwards

In what seems like a very strong league this year, the team are 12th of 21 teams with 560 points (29,76,88,92,96,179). We also recorded a 'b' result of 1240 points (182, 186, 196, 197, 204, 275).

Full results can be found here .

Midland XC Relays, Aldersley Stadium, Wolverhampton. Saturday 20th October 2018 Print

ImageLovely day for the first cross country event of the season with a firm course. Unusually, the men  and women ran the same course and ran at the same time.

Well done all.


Masters Ladies


 Vicki Bone 
 8 Emma Donnelly
 Pauline Hygate

The team finished 10th of 29 complete teams in a time of 1.23.42

'B' incomplete

 Manisha Pearce (Parmar) 


Masters Men


 Nick Stringer
 7 Darren Riley 
 12 Tahir Ahktar
 12 Andy Law

The team finished 13th of 20 complete teams in a time of 1.40.16


 John Goulding 
 18 Rob Mills
 16 Graham Hygate 
 14 Andy Manning 27.07

The team finished 15th of 20 complete teams in a time of 1.48.32

'C' incomplete

 Barry O'Neill 
 20 Barry Crowley 
 20 Craig Hinks

Full results can be found here .

The Sheepwalks Shocker at Enville, Staffordshire. Sunday 7th October 2018 Print
Nestled between the towns of Stourbridge and Bridgnorth just beyond Kinver the picturesque village of Enville can be found. Enville Hall being the scenic location for the ominously named Sheepwalks Shocker. Advertised as a 10K multi-terrain route, with according to the website 'stunning rugged countryside, country lanes on tarmac and lovely view and some challenges' Why then the unusual name, perhaps just a marketing ploy to stand out from the plethora of races there are to choose from these days.

The organisation was first rate, plenty of signed then marshalled parking, a good PA system and beautiful English country estate scenery. At the allotted hour the race started on time, initially proceeding down the drive from outside Enville Hall, fenced farm paddocks on either side, until just before the first 1km marker the road changed into a track up through the woods then narrowed further onto a sandy path with trip hazards a plenty of tree roots and prominent rocks, amongst the muddy puddles of course. Just before 2km the path met a small country lane and the tarmac section began. We were told in the run briefing that the roads were not vehicle free but very lightly used, the only traffic I encountered were two horses and riders. At 2.5km I arrived at Sheepwalks Lane, the race name started to make sense, about a minute later the Shocker aspect became apparent.

The next mile or so was Sheepwalks hill, going from a starting point of 100m above sea level to just over 200m, so not the gentle incline of Burnaston Road on a Tuesday evenings midweek training, but sharp strength sapping inclines, initially perhaps 500m of twists and turns, a brief respite where the gradient became significantly easier, which also offered some majestic views of the countryside if only one was not too shattered to appreciate it, then finally a brutal last climb to the summit. Helpful signs such as 'Get over it it, it's only a hill' were placed by the roadside, and encouraging marsalls after this second climb assured runners that the worst was past, false hope! From the summit a significant downhill section beckoned, allowing legs and heartbeat to return to a degree of normality around a generally circular path until arriving at the 8.5km point when the ultimate Shocker awaited the weary runner, we were back at the foot of Sheepwalks Lane and once again were directed up the incline by the smiling marshals! Thankfully this time a full climb was not required, only the steep twisty section before another welcome marshal directed us off the road into a field and a pleasant grassy fast descent back to Enville Hall and the finish line.

To be fair this is one race that certainly lives up to its name, pb course never, but enjoyable in a painful sort of way.

 Andrew Wadsworth 

Full results can be found  here 

268 runners took part, mixture of club runners and those without affiliations, with prize money of £50 for the winning male & female athletes some shocking quick times at the front of the fields especially from two young W&B athletes.

Prior to the main event a 2K fun run took place, aimed primarily it would appear looking at the competitors at under 16s, some significantly younger than this. Looking at the beaming smiles on their faces as they sprinted to the line, the rugged challenges of the senior race was justifiably spared them!

English National XC Championships, Parliament Hills, London, Sat 24th February 2018 Print

ImageA good contingent of Harriers went down to Parliament Hills for this years National. The skys were clear and the ground relatively firm with only a brisk, bitter wind to spoil the day. Then the racing started.

The ladies were led home by national debutante Vicki and there were excellent performances for the whole team. I would like to single out Manisha for special praise as she is not the fastest but this cross country season she has been running as well as I have see her do in many years. Well done to Jenny for marshalling the team and fostering a great team spirit which really showed on Saturday.

 Vicki Bone 
 583 Emma Donnelly   
 656 Pauline Hygate
 762 Clare Bovill
 876 Jenny Price
 961 Manisha Parmar

1113 runners completed the course.

The ladies finished 76th of 84 complete teams. Well done.

For the men's race we were missing the ever present Craig and must conclude that everything that went right was the result of his absense. We were not the last bus out of the car park for once.

While some felt the couse was not too muddy it was very slippy in places and more like a ploughed feild  in others while the traditional big field led to the usual crushes and waits at pinch points on the first lap. Darren was first in (does that surprise anyone?) followed by Paul and Simon. Paul's performances have improved as the season progressed and this was an appropriate way to round it off. I can't mention everyone but Dave P had a very strong run (where were you all season) while Tahir seems to be coming back to his early season form. Well done all.

 1050 Darren Riley 
 1358 Paul Webster 
 1577 Simon Hodges 
 1650 Tahir Akhtar
 1732 Dave Pearson
 1786 Barry O'Neill 
 1820 Graham Hygate
 1961 Andy Law
 Andy Wadsworth 
 2215 Charles Fentiman
 2221 Kevin Morris 1.14.00

2328 runners completed the course.

The team finished 148th of 162 complete teams (6 to count) or 88 of 90 (9 to count).

Full results can be found here .

Next year is pencilled in for Harewood House near Leeds. Put it in your diaries.

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