WITH temperatures in single figures and blustery winds snatching their breath, 19 Gainsborough and Morton Striders ventured to Caythorpe for the latest instalment of the Lincs Cross Country League.
There were some fine performances in tough conditions, with a third place for Ruth Wilson.
Eight categories, from Under 11s upwards, asked runners to compete over distances ranging between 1.6 and 9.5km
Whilst the distances may seem small, the terrain was wet, rugged and undulating, resulting in a formidable challenge for those taking part across wooded areas, marsh and agricultural land.
Club veteran and ex-international Phil Kitchen was frank in his assessment: “I had forgotten how hard it is to run a six mile cross country race.”
“Running uphill on a farmer’s field is darn hard work, especially three times. I’m aching now.”
The event began with U11 boys Dylan Housham and Joe Metcalfe making fine efforts over a tough 1,645m course and finishing 20th and 21st respectively.
In the U13s 3.4k race Max Metheringham finished in a superb ninth place, Mitchell O’Connor close behind in 11th, Finlay Leggott in 18th and the ever improving Ashley Gregory in 20th.
The Senior/Vet men were racing next and eight Striders lined up for the six mile course.
Jordan Skelly built on his previous race with an impressive 10th position, and whilst he was disappointed not to drop into single figures his performance at the age of 20 is most promising.
Paul Dagg, making his XC debut followed in 18th, and was quickly joined by fellow debutant Craig Ward in 24th.
Mark Leggott (49th), Michael Adlington (51st), Christopher Litherland (52nd), Kitchen (53rd) and Kev Housham (61st) rounded out the men’s field.
In the Ladies’ race Wilson remained calm and composed in deteriorating conditions to come home in a fantastic third place, despite this being her first cross country race as an adult and triathlon being her main focus.
Helen Robinson drove on despite an early fall and finished 15th, leading to strong hopes that with a return to fitness for Angela Overson and Lorna Allison, Gainsborough and Morton Striders Ladies will have a very real chance of the team prize at the County Championships in January.
Kim Metcalfe started well but unfortunately had to withdraw midway through the race after injuring her achilles.
The final race of the day saw young star Dan Edwards line up for the U17s event and he didn’t disappoint, finishing strongly to record an eighth position, on which he will surely build in 2013.
Team manager Mark Hemmings and club captain Simon Hall were delighted with the efforts of the squad, the largest they have taken to one of these events to date.
If you’d like to tackle the XC challenge why not join the club for the County Championships at Hubbards Hills in Louth on January 6th?
For more info visit the club’s website at www.gainsboroughrunningclub.co.uk