Heanor RC dominated in the senior team stakes at the latest Derbyshire Cross Country county championships, held in conjunction with the Notts championships last weekend at Wollaton Park.
Despite only having 1 athletes available across the range of ages and distances, half of those managed to finish in a top-eight position to qualify for a place in the county team whilst the majority of others came away with a medal of some sort.
Making her first appearance in the county championships and with little racing experience otherwise, Milly Newton ran a superb race to win silver in the under 13 girls 3K race. No doubt taking confidence from her recent training and performance in the mini league fixtures pre-Christmas and Heanor RC club race to the Old Oak Inn post-, Milly stormed home in a time of 12.08 to guarantee her place at Cofton Park, Birmingham in the inter-counties on March 5.
Success and debuts seemed to be the common theme this year as Heanor RC had five athletes, including Milly, making their first appearances for the club in this county championship event.
Joining her in the under 13 girls event, Georgia Stirland ran determinedly to place an encouraging 9th in a time of 14.43. Ellie Baker partook in the under 11 girls race, flying the flag for Heanor RC in the youngest age-group race of the day. Ellie displayed good character at such a young age to complete the 1.5K distance in 8.43 to finish 7th. In the last race of the day but certainly not least, the fifth and final debutant at the Derbyshire Cross Country championships for Heanor RC was Jack Lilley in the under 15 mens 4.5K event. Jack finished 11th in 19.36 and with it secured a reserve spot for the Derbyshire team.
In the seniors, Wendy Mullineux, once again showed guts and determination to position 12th in a time of 34.14 for the 8K distance and what a day it proved with the senior women deservedly taking home the gold medal.
Led by the very impressive Lisa Palmer (28.59), who ran strongly to take second and silver medal individually, and backed up further by Jill Burke (32.11 - 9th overall and second veteran 40-49) and Joanne Potter (42.47, 27th), Heanor RC’s girls showed the strength and quality they possess to bring home the title.
Inspired, the senior men lined up for the 10k race at 12.35pm with a team medal on their minds, the colour of which turning out to be rather surprising but nonetheless deserved. Utilising the race as a tough training run on his way back from a plague of frustrating injuries, Chris Rainsford returned from his Spanish hideaway to place 11th in a time of 34.06 and subsequently claim a guaranteed spot in the inter-counties team by finishing as the 7th senior athlete. Followed home by Ashley Deeming (35.31, 15th), debuting in this event for the yellow and blue, Joe Rainsford (35.37, 16th), again, a Christmas period disrupted by colds and viruses, Darren Ridout (36.50, 20th), ditto, and Stephen Ashmore (37.09, 22nd), ditto again, the senior men were able to surprisingly steal gold in the senior stakes and make it a double Derbyshire cross country team success.
Rounding off the team’s efforts was John Grice, who placed 63rd in a time of 50.10.