Mansfield Harriers have had a very busy weekend of cross country with a double header of league action with the third of the North Midlands league at Shipley Park Heanor on Saturday and the third of the Booth’s league on Sunday at the Bakewell showground. Massive club spirit was shown to get full teams out at both fixtures.
On Saturday on the tough Shipley course the club had 3 juniors making debuts in the league and all performed admirably. Alex Foster had a superb run in the Under 11 girls race to finish a very impressive 7th, Matthew Young ran well for 14th place in the Under 11 boys which was more impressive in the fact he has another year at the age group and Saffron Milner showed great character in the Under 13 girls race to place 30th. Beth Hamilton has raced the whole series and after struggling at the last race bounced right back to form to finish a magnificent 3rd place and is now on a podium position with one race to go. Joel Whittaker-Naylor competed in the Under 15 boys race and ran with great determination to finish 36th.
The senior men had 10 athletes compete on the day and first in was club supervet Andy Wetherill who put in a fantastic stint of cross country racing to finish 62nd. Wetherill also has a huge lead in the series and looks odds on to take the over 55 category. Second home was Phil Shaw in 98th closely followed by Antony Robinson in 100th. Gary Morley had another great run to finish 106th and lies in 8th overall in the over 40 category closely followed by Nigel Watkin in 108th which also puts Watkin on a podium position in the over 55 category. Ged Naylor placed 153rd, Garry Hodgkins 161st, Steve Davies was 164th and lies 4th overall in the over 55 series, Alan Kemp 165th and Dave Rpbertson 238th. The men’s team finished 19th on the day and the veteran team 3rd and lie 2nd overall after 3 races.
For the ladies, Kahli Johnson floated over the mud to finish 36th overall and now lies in a superb 2nd position in the over 40 category with a race to go. The club’s inspirational ladies team manager Bev Armstrong was close behind in 42nd and lies 5th in the same age group. Amanda Hardy continues her fine season to place 79th and is placed second overall in the series in the over 50 category. Diane Stewart put in another great race to place 112th and Jemma Arbon continues her rapid improvement to place 120th on the day and 6th overall in the over 35 category. The ladies veteran team placed 3rd at Shipley and are 2nd in the series.
On Sunday at Bakewell the club had 10 men and 6 ladies turn out to ensure full teams for both competitions. Paul Butcher had a strong race to be first man home in 8th position followed by three men who doubled up from the previous day Phil Shaw 33rd, Nigel Watkin 40th, Gary Morley 47th followed by Martin Fickling in 57th, Craig Linacre 78th then two more double up men Garry Hodgkins 78th, Alan Kemp in 82nd, Matt Bradbury was 84th and another double race man Dave Robertson closed the team in 165th. Overall the men’s team came 8th on the day and are 9th after three of the five series races.
Katie Lancaster had a superb race in the ladies race finishing 4th on the day. Katie is still a junior lady for the competition and has come through the ranks at the club and has the potential to be a massive asset for the Harriers in the future. Bev Armstrong doubled up and was second lady home in 15th followed by Maddy Collinge in 50th, Esther Sinclair 56th and other double runner Jemma Arbon in 71st, and one of the Mansfield’s new coaches for the run together fit to run group Angela Purdue in 72nd. The ladies finished 6th on the day and are now a superb 5th overall in the series. Overall the club were both 7th on the day and 7th overall.
Picture left to right of Alex Foster and Beth Hamilton.