Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Athletics: Success for Harriers at X-Country relay champs

The Essex Cross Country Relay Championships were held at Hadleigh Park on Saturday. Over the gruelling 5k around the Hadleigh Downs course the Harriers entered several teams. The top effort came from the senior men who finished 4th in their 4 stage event. They fielded top veteran Scott Rice on the first stage. This is certainly not his favourite course but he battled through to 9th place in the 25 starters with a time of 19m07s.

Next off was Nick Houghton, making a welcome appearance over the country. On his leg he moved up to 7th with an excellent 18m10s effort. John Green followed and the veteran looked in impressive form. He moved
up another place and chalked up a time of 18m51s. A thrilling effort came on the final leg where Alex Houghton ran 17m14s to lift the club to 4th place. His time was amongst the top half dozen of the day.

This is a great opening to the cross country season for the men’s team. They have Hertfordshire qualified Steve Prosser to come into the team with Don Lawless, Denis Cross, Adam Finch, Adam Essa and 20 others
waiting in the wings. Adam Dowman 19m33s, Martyn Staines 23m33s were part of a composite team that finished 14th.

The women’s team can be pleased with 8th place. Their race consisted of 3 stages and all 3 of Thurrock’s team ran well. Victoria Peacock recorded 23m42s, Toni Noble 22m34s and Silvia Bogdanarova 24m42s. All 3
qualify as veterans and have Sarah Driver and Elin Engdahl as backup if necessary in their age group.

The under 15 boys team did well to finish 8th. Their course was 2.5k long but still a tough call. Gary Cahill 10m40s and Sam Smith 11m25s gave the team a good start. They were glad however to have sprinter Tyler Chu to cover the last leg with a admirable time of 11m45s. This not only showed great potential but also great courage.

The other complete team was the under 15 girls team. Sheama Allali recorded 13m45s, Annie Bowen 13m59s and Elle Smith 13m27s. However the best individual performance of the day was really from Gemma Holloway who recorded the fastest time over the shorter course in the girl’s races with a time of 10m41.

Hopefully before the season starts a team can be found to back up the outstanding individual performances of this talented athlete. In the same race Kira Meredith recorded a 13m12s stage.

Don Lawless, now well into the V45 category, belied his years to win the Laindon Park 5 mile race which was held on Sunday. The distance is just over 5 miles and broadly is up to Laindon Church from the Wildlife Centre and back down again.

On the downhill stretch Don shook off a much younger Basildon AC runner to snatch the victory. With John Green and Scott Rice in such good form the V40+ section looks in good shape.

In the recent Ingatestone 5 Mick Bumstead signalled his return to competition after a knee operation by lifting the V60 trophy, while at the other end of the age spectrum Adam Dowman won the trophy for the
under 20s.

This weekend many of the endurance runners tackle the Southend 10k.



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