The first of the five race Nottinghamshire AAA Summer League series took place last week at Hexgrave Hall and Mansfield Harriers had its biggest contingent competing for many years with 36 green and blue vests crossing the finishing line in a record field of 595 finishers. The race saw many fine performances from the Mansfield club in both the team and individual competitions and shows great promise for the season.

First athlete back was England International Mark Johnson in 9th place. This was an encouraging performance for Johnson who has not competed for nearly a year due to reoccurring hamstring issues and shows he is now well on the road to recovery. New recruit Sam Bradley continued his superb start with the club being second home in 20th position closely followed by Andy Wetherill in 23rd position.  A three way sprint for the line settled the positions for the next three with Jordan Boam 39th outpacing Phil Shaw 40th and Neil Cope 41st.

Following these in were Jack Cooke in 72nd, Chris Monk 81st, Garry Hodgkins 95th, Alan Kemp 102nd, Gary Morley 137th, Stuart Whysall 170th, Gary Towle 175th, Colin Fell 200th, Shaun Middleton 205th, Mark Burr 244th, Vikram Desai 275th, Graeme Baguley 279th, Dave Robertson 293rd and Pete Copcutt 296th. The men closed two teams in both the senior and veteran men categories, with the men’s team placing 6th and 24th out of 26 teams and the veterans 2nd and 17th out of 35 teams.

For the ladies first home was the super consistent Kahli Johnson who placed 10th closely followed by inspirational team manager Bev Armstrong in 25th and the fast improving Helen Pritchett in 27th position. The much improved Catherine Hough and Wanda Curley had a battle royal throughout with Hough in 45th just edging Curley in 46th.

Karen Waterhouse was next lady home placing 57th and was followed by Jackie Duers 86th, Maddy Collinge 105th, Natasha Carver 126th, Esther Sinclair 140th, Amanda Shaw 143rd, Sarah Sinclair 144th, Heather Shone 149th, Claire Booth 158th, Michelle Baxter 171st and Tina Copcutt 187th.  The ladies also had some magnificent team performances closing two teams in the seniors and three in the veteran category.  The ladies placed 9th and 22nd out of 36 teams and the Veteran ladies 3rd, 17th and 28th out of 41 teams.

Mansfield’s athletes were also in action at the Virgin London Marathon with six of the club’s men completing the classic distance. After months of high mileage, heavy training and a few injuries along the way all of them had excellent performances First home was Chris Allcock who ran a superb new best by 7 minutes to record a very fast 2.44.53.  Gary Morley recorded 3.18.38 a superb effort considering he has been injured for most of the last 2 months. Matt Bradbury broke the 3.30 barrier to record 3.26.39 and a new best by over 3 minutes. Martin Fickling also broke 3.30 for the first time with a massive 17 minute best to clock 3.28.12 and in his debut marathon Bret Podgorzec recorded a very good 3.37.03 and will no doubt improve from this run. Steve Davies in his 57th marathon continues to grind out very good times for his age this year running a time of 3.23.47.

On the local race scene, several Harriers competed at the Longhorn event around the grounds of Thoresby Hall over varying distances. In the 5K event Jemma Arbon recorded 26.42, in the 10K race Pete Copcutt ran 55.20, Angela Purdue 58.28, Sarah Scott 58.31, Julie Winter 61.10, Michelle Baxter 63.53 and Theresa Copcutt 76 minutes. In the Half Marathon Maddy Collinge won the over 65 race in 1.52.40, followed by Tim Richardson 2.11.01, Esther Sinclair 2.16.25, Lyndsey Stevenson 2.34.56 and Caroline Rye 2.34.57. On Easter Monday three athletes ran in the Easter 10k at Wollaton Park with first home Stuart Whysall in 45.05, Trevor Hiscox 49.10 and Maddy Collinge in 51.25.

Pictures below of the AAA Hexgreave runners and some London Marathon runners.