LAST Saturday saw a team of Ripley Running Clubs top runners take part in the prestigious National Cross Country championship which this year, took place on Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath, London.
And what an event for any keen runner, a chance to compete with the best runners in the country.
In near perfect conditions, the route was daunting with runners heading up the infamous hill almost immediately from the start line. This proved to be too gruelling for some runners seeing them walk half of it. The ladies were first out of the pens with Lucy Holmes, Caroline Moss, Jo Howett and Cathy Cresswell taking to the course. The ladies did a 8km race which was undulating to say the least, lots of ups and downs and two loops to add to the tension. Still they did Ripley proud with Lucy 123rd in 33 mins 06 secs; Caroline 303rd 33:11; Jo 376th 38:47 and Cathy 409th 39:27 out of 650 finishers.
This gave the ladies a 41st positioning out of 73 teams.
The men had a slightly harder task with a 12km route to navigate. Undeterred though, team Ripley put in a great effort with Dean Taylor 423rd in 44 mins 32 secs; Matt Jones 584th 46:28; Richard Phillis 1,046th 51:58; Karl Tietz 1,440th 58:32; Jerry Bateman 1,478th 59:42; Dennis 1,598th 1 hour, 4 mins 21 secs and Jay Bird 1,646th 1:09:09 out of 1688 runners.
This gave the men a 103rd team placing out of 125.
Considering the professional competition out on the field, team Ripley put in tremendous effort and did the club proud.
The day before this epic event was the Belvoir Challenge in North East Leicestershire.
This first took place in 1990 with the aim of raising money for the local Harby primary school and takes place every year. It was a varied course and very muddy in places and took in footpaths tracks, byways and minor roads through the Belvoir estate owned by the Duke of Rutland.
Runners had a choice of two distances 15 or 26 miles with checkpoints every five mile with cakes and biscuits been given out to runners the only race that you could put weight on!
Two Ripley Runners kept off the cakes and ran extremely well. They both chose the 15-mile race, Martin Penny came home in 19th place in a great time of 1 hour 53 mins while Wayne Smithurst wasn’t far behind in 26th place in a time of 1hour 57mins 764 ran. A great result for both runners.