Mansfield Harriers competed at the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire combined County Cross County Championships at the weekend held at Wollaton Park Nottingham. The club had a superb 44 athletes complete which is the club’s biggest number for years. Mansfield came away with four individual County Champions, four third places and in the team events the club had one win, one second and one third.
The first race of the day was the Under 11 girls and Mansfield’s three athletes put in a supreme performance. Beth Hamilton stormed to victory taking the race on from the front to become the clubs first county champion of the day. Close behind was Alex Foster who had the run of her young life to finish 3rd and completing the team was Grace Manson who also put in a great run to finish 7th and the three comfortably took the county team title.
The Under 11 boys followed with hopes of a team medal however have suffered from illness within the squad in recent weeks. First back was Jake Orr placing 10th followed by Matthew Young 17th and Alistair Homewood 26th, unfortunately they just missed out on a team medal finishing 5th. This is the first time for several years Mansfield have fielded teams in both Under 11 races and shows great promise for the future.
On a busy day of racing next out was Luke Duffy who looked every bit the part in the Under 17's race. Duffy stayed with the leader on the first lap but broke away on the second lap and took the title by a full 18 seconds.
Jade Baconhad her best run to date finishing 4th in the Under 20 ladies races, Henry Bullough was 5th in the Under 13 boys race, Olivia Barrett 6th in the under 13 and Katie Lancaster 6th in the Under 17 Derbyshire race to all qualify to run for the county. In the under 15 boys race the fast improving Sam Bentley was 15th and Joel Whittaker-Naylor 18th.
The men’s race saw a stunning run from Archie Rayner in the combined junior and senior race. The 17 year old took the race by storm winning both the Under 20 and overall title by a huge 42 seconds. Rayner could well be the youngest athlete to ever take the overall title in the events long history. Alex Rieley was struggling from the end of the small lap but showed he is made of stronger stuff to finish 5th overall and 3rd under 20. Andy Wetherill was the other individual man to win a medal finishing 3rd in the over 50 category and finish in 25th place overall.
The veteran men took silver in the team and supporting Wetherill were Phil Shaw 43rd, Gary Morley 48th, and Nigel Watkin 51st. Jordan Boam had another strong run finishing 19th,Martin Fickling 69th, Jack Cooke 79th, Alan Kemp 84th, Matthew Bradbury 105th, Jonathan Hardy 132nd and Julian Wood 141th.
The ladies provided Mansfield’s final winner with supervetMaddy Collingetaking gold in the over 60's race. Amanda Hardy took a bronze in the over 50's and the veteran team of Kahli Johnson, 22nd, Eva Williams 26th and Beverley Armstrong in 30th position also took bronze.
Also finishing for the ladies were Alice Mortiboy 28th,Helen Pritchett 36th, Sharon Armitage 49th,Jackie Duers 62nd,Karen Kowalski 66th,Diane Stewart 69th,Jemma Arbon73rd,Sarah Bradbury 76th,Jo Walker 79th, Sarah Sinclair 82nd,Tina Copcutt 87th,Denise Winfield 90th and Theresa Copcutt 95th.
Bethany Williams is looking to have an indoor track season this winter and the junior international raced at the British Milers Club event at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield last Sunday. Williams put in a commanding performance leading from gun to tape and recording an indoor best of 2.14.25 with the expectation of more improvement to come.
Pictures below of Archie Rayner after his stunning run at his first senior championship, Luke Duffy after the medal presentation number 208 and the Under 11 winning girls team left to right Alex Foster, Beth Hamilton and Grace Manson.