Heanor Running Club made history at the Derbyshire Cross County Championships last weekend.
Held in conjunction with the Nottinghamshire championships at Wollaton Park, Heanor RC achieved individual and team success across all age categories in what was the most successful championship in the club’s 31 year history.
Chris Rainsford became the first Heanor RC runner to put his name on the W.D Stretton Memorial Trophy, winning the senior men’s event following a close tussle with another local runner, Ripley RC’s Dale Annable.
In an event that combined the senior, junior and veteran categories, Rainsford went toe-to-toe with Annable and the duo jostled for the lead for the majority of the undulating 10k race.
Rainsford (32:05) eventually came out on top thanks to a strong sprint finish with 400 metres to the line to add the senior title to the U17 and U20 titles he also won in 2007 and 2010.
The Heanor RC senior men’s team also took the team title for the second time in three years.
Mark Morgan crossed the line a clear sixth in 34:00 as Adam Biggs (35:57) finished 11th in his debut at the event. Virgin London Marathon-bound Paul Clarke placed 14th and Mike Richmond in 20th completed the team scorers to see the quintet grab the team honours at Clowne Road Runners’ expense.
In the under 20s mens category, Joe Rainsford comfortably took home the title to make it a championship-double for the Rainsford brothers.
Rainsford (32:56) battled hard with Nottinghamshire athletes Leigh Stubbs and Andrew Peat and used this to spur him on to his first junior title. His dominance and victory in the junior standings was never in doubt as he finished almost three minutes clear of the next Derbyshire athlete.
Ashley Deeming (34:48) tasted success in the V40 event, finishing third and taking the bronze medal behind overall race winner Andy Ward (30:52) of Clowne Road Runners and Long Eaton RC’s Rod Harris (34:36).
Completing the Heanor RC men’s endeavours were Alastair Hobday, who placed ninth V40, and Ed Godber, who finished 22nd in the senior standings.
In the junior categories, Heanor RC were well represented in the u13 girls, u15 girls and u11 boys events, with the hard work and commitment of the junior athletes and coaches over the past couple of years bearing fruit.
Milly Newton narrowly missed out on a medal in the U15G 4000m race. Newton finished fourth in 14:33 but still qualified for the CAU Inter-Counties final to be held in Birmingham in March.
Charlie Saxton finished eighth in the U11B 1500m event while his brother, Jack, unfortunately had to pull out of the U13B event mid-race due to illness.
The U13G team did themselves proud by taking home the silver medal. In a close race, the girls finished second to Amber Valley & Erewash AC by one position.
The trio of Lily Winfield (11:57), Danielle Smith (12:29) and Emily Deeming (13:25) secured the first junior team medal for Heanor RC for a number of years. Winfield also took home the individual bronze with a magnificent third-placed finish as Ellie Baker (13:46) finished a brilliant 15th to complete the girls’ efforts.
In the combined senior and veteran women 8,000m event, Lisa Palmer (29:23) secured silver in the V35 standings. Finishing third for Derbyshire overall, Palmer crossed the line second behind fellow England international Sarah Harris of Long Eaton RC.
Louise Insley had a storming race in the yellow and blue just 30 seconds further back, finishing seventh overall and second V40 on her debut for the club.