Thursday, July 25, 2024

Athletics: Harriers take to the country in first race of the season

THE Senior Men’s team management were jubilant at the excellent start made by the team in round 1 of the Essex Cross Country League. It was held at Braintree on Saturday and 25 teams are now competing in it.

Alex Houghton finished 3rd which is the highest position achieved by a Harrier for some years. At the end of the first half of the race Alex was in 10th position but he moved through smoothly over the last mile, losing out only to McCauley Delo of Suffolk and Grant Twist of Chelmsford, but in front of many County class athletes.

Next to finish was his twin brother, Nick, who was 19th. Nick continues to turn in spectacular performances in spite of his restricted chance to train hard.

In 22nd place it was good to see Steve Prosser back to competition, in a controlled run that will fill him with confidence.

Scott Rice began his defence of his medal winning position in 3rd place in the 40+ age group and 27th place overall. Alec Finch produced what was probably his best ever cross country run to finish 42nd. The 17 year old was making his debut in the senior event and was 5th in the under 20 sub division of the race.

Closing in the scoring team Dennis Cross finished 54th. Dennis will have better runs in the winter season but his training has been interrupted recently as he has started his degree course at UEA.

The team’s total of 167 points was the sort of score needed to maintain its place in the top 3 throughout the season. Apart from the scoring team Thurrock had 7 more athletes in the top 100 of the 190 strong field of seasoned club runners.

They were led by Adam Dowman in 59th spot, close behind came veteran Don Lawless in 63rd, David Johnson was 69th.

In the 50+ age category last season’s medallists Eamonn Shelley and Jon Metcalf began their defence of their medal winning status with positions of 82 and 86th.

The Club fielded 4 newcomers to the cross country circuit, Anthony Tobin was 92nd, Nigel Instance 99th, Richard Amery 110th and Nick Trencher 115th.

These were all promising starts for these relative newcomers to the sport. Mick Bumstead ran a careful race to finish 105th, 2nd in the 60+ age group while his son Paul, gradually returning to full fitness, was 109th.

Thurrock’s other finishers in what was a satisfying day was John Arthur (v 50) 124th, Bernie Johnson (v50) 131st, Gary Rowlett (v40) 133rd and guest Jordan Ware 155th.

The women fielded a complete team which finished 11th. All 4 ran well.Toni Noble was 20th, Silvia Bogdanarova-Meredith was 33rd, Victoria Peacock 52nd and debutante Jodi Farrell 63rd. 94 finished the race.

This weekend the endurance team tackle the Wix 5 miles road race which incorporates the County Championships.


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