Mansfield Harriers had a busy weekend of cross country action with the Junior Mini League on Sunday and the North Midlands Cross Country league on Saturday. Newark was the venue for the Mini League event and the club had an impressive 28 athletes finish and 9 competing in both the Under 11 and Under 13 girls events.

At Under 11 the ever impressive Mathilda Bullough finished a fine 3rd position agonisingly leaving her charge to the line just too late finishing within a metre of the winner. Ella Kennedy had a career best race to date finishing in 6th place with Jemima Waller close behind in 8th. Zoe Spencer continued her fine run of form for 13th as did Freya Longmead in 16th and Amelia Arnold 27th. Three athletes made club debuts with Lucy Miller 21st, Laura Gascoigne 26th and Ebony Parkes 28th.

The Under 13 girls are becoming quite a formidable outfit and as most are bottom of the two year age group are only going to get stronger. Beth Hamilton continues to lead the group being first home in 5th place closely followed by Ales Foster who had a superb run for 6th and the much improved Ruby Milnes in 10th. In her first race of the winter Grace Manson raced well for 20th and both Sophie Toyn and Ava Blake showed significant progress from the first race with 21st and 23rd respectively. Amelia Shackleford had another great run for 30th as did Elizabeth Sinclair in 38th and Emma Greasby 39th.

Jake Orr gets better with every race, giving away both age and size he had a superb run for 5th place in the Under 13 boys. Orr was supported by Cole Beck in 16th and Harry Wilkinson in 21st place. The Under 11 boys saw a great turnout with 5 finishing with the multi-talented Matt Young first home for Mansfield in 11th closely followed by the improving Edward Sankey in 14th place. Ellis Blake had another strong run for 22nd as did debutant Oliver Allen in 30th and William Sankey in 37th place.

Once again, the club only had one athlete in both the Under 15 races but again they both covered themselves in glory with strong runs.  Sam Bentley placing 6th in the boys and Holly Spencer 9th in the girl’s event.

The first in the series of four North Midland Cross Country League events took place at Markeaton Park Derby and Mansfield’s athletes were treated to very unseasonal weather conditions.

Highlight of the day was the debut run for the club of twins Amber and Mollie Scott in the Under 17 girls race. Amber looked strong from the start going out with the eventual winner and held on for a superb 2nd place and Mollie after a more conservative start pushed on during the second half of the race to take a fast finishing 3rd

Another recent recruit to Mansfield is Dylan George who showed great promise in the Under 17 men’s race as he worked through the field to get a top 10 place with 9th. With a junior fixture clash over the weekend, the team managers made the call the Juniors would concentrate on the mini league with only Joel Whittaker-Naylor 47th Under 15 boys and Katie Kemp 38th Under 15 girls competing

For the ladies first home was Kahli Johnson who placed 39th closely followed by Bev Armstrong in 61s and Alice Mortiboy in 73rd. Sharon Armitage placed 114th, Angela Purdue 141st, Karen Kowalski 145th, Sarah Scott 151st, Jackie Duers 166th, Diane Stewart 168th and Tina Copcutt 177th. Neil Cope was first man back for Mansfield placing 83rd followed by Nigel Watkin 126th, Ged Naylor 129th, Jack Cooke 137th, Andy Wetherill 157th, Alan Kemp 193rd, Tim Raynor 195th, Graeme Baguley 246th and Mark Burr 271st.

Several Mansfield athletes competed in the Goose Fair Gallop a very tough and hilly 10K starting and finishing at Underwood. First home for the club was the fast improving Stuart Whysall who recorded a chip time of 45.49.  Following Whysall was Pete Copcutt 52.51, Angela Purdue 56.05, Maddy Collinge 56.27, Michelle Baxter 62.26 and Tina Copcutt 63.23.  Collinge also travelled to Tuscany in the week where she competed in the Chianti Half Marathon an event with 500 metres of climb where she finished 4th in the over 60 category with a time of 2.18.

Report by Richard Massey, Coach and Press Officer.

Picture below is our Under 13 team with one of our Under 11's Ella Kennedy to make the 10.