HEANOR Running Club had five teams competing across three races at the recent English Cross Country Relays at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield as the high-quality competition provided one of the biggest tests available at club level.
Wet conditions saw the course wetter and muddier than ever before at Berry Hill Park.
The third event of the day saw the first of Heanor RC interest with the junior men’s 3x3k race.
Joe Rainsford ran a well-judged race on the opening leg as he moved through the field to finish strongly in a time of 9.50.
Billy Atkin made his first appearance of the season for the yellow and blue and found the going tough.
Atkin completed the course in 13.09 before handing over to 18-year-old Josh Housley. Housley had the task of anchoring the team home and did so with ease as he finished in a time of 11.35. The junior men, with Rainsford and Housley having another year in the age category, placed 54th overall.
For the first time since 2008 Heanor RC had two women’s teams lining up in the senior women’s race.
Lisa Palmer led the Heanor RC ‘A’ team out on the opening leg.
The ladies had the same 3x3K course as the junior men to complete and Palmer’s opening effort of 11.26 set the ‘A’ side up nicely as they looked to improve on last year’s 56th place finish.
Jill Burke, making a rare appearance over cross country, followed Palmer on leg two, finishing in a time of 13.47. Glenda Alton rounded off the ‘A’ team’s endeavours, completing the course in 13.20 and bringing the team home one place higher than last year in 55th position.
For Heanor RC ‘B’, Laura Harvey set the tone for a strong team performance as her time of 13.17 would have been good enough to see her compete for the Heanor RC ‘A’ team. Gemma Housley and Donna Baker, fresh from her PB at the Worksop Half Marathon the previous weekend, rounded off the team’s efforts. Both women finished in an identical time of 14.55; the trio placing 86th out of 104 complete teams.
Just half-an-hour later two Heanor RC men sides prepared to tackle the increasingly muddy course in the 4x5K senior men event.
Lining up on the opening leg amongst the field of 200 runners, Chris Rainsford and Steve Ashmore set the Heanor RC teams on their way. Running for Heanor RC ‘A’, Rainsford ran strongly (17.14) before sprinting to the line and handing over to Paul Clarke who performed well to finish in a time of 19.33; Deeming following suit with a 19.06 effort.
Anchoring the team home was Lee Perkins, whose time of 20.26 brought the team home in 76th position.
For Heanor RC ‘B’, Steve Ashmore, recently returning from an Achilles injury lay-off, completed the opening 5K leg in 19.35. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the first leg changeover, Ed Godber on second leg managed to miss Ashmore come in to the finish.
As he waited patiently in the not knowing that Ashmore was already changing his spikes and preparing to cool down, Godber was eventually told of the mix-up and set off a frustrated figure.
Running well considering the misunderstanding, Godber finished in a time of 24.35. Tony Weatherson, the 2011 Heanor RC Veteran Club Champion, took over the reins on third. Weatherson strode home in 20.54 before handing over to fellow geordie Glenn Salkeld. Salkeld (23.35) completed the team’s efforts as they finished 140th overall.