Gold and bronzes at the Midland Champs

Midland Counties Cross Country Championships - Daniel Thompson reports

On the 30th January the annual Midland Counties cross country championships were held at Stafford Common; there were many good performances from the Kettering Town Harriers athletes.

The first race was the U13 Boys race where Josh Cara ran superbly to take the bronze medal. On a hard ground the U13 Boys race went off to a very fast start with Josh Cara getting up towards the front of the pack, in the second big pack was Jack Hope and close behind were his team mates Ben Tierney and Ethan Mehmet. With the leader pulling away Josh quickly increased the gap between him and the other athletes, now there were only about 6 boys that had a realistic chance of winning, one of them Josh. Jack battled his way through the field making up several places after a fast start, following Jack was Ben and Ethan who also both made up more places. Towards the finishing part of the race the leader and second place were well clear but Josh ran superbly at the end and edged out a Tamworth athlete to finish in third place with a time of 9.56 minutes. Jack battled very hard at the end to finish 45th (11.07 minutes) with just 10 seconds separating 15 athletes. Ben produced a brilliant sprint finish to come 70th (11.37 minutes) and Ethan came 101st (12.25 minutes) with another close finish between a hatful of athletes. All the U13 Boys ran superbly in what was a big field and in hard conditions; the U13 Boys team led by the exceptional Josh Cara came 13th overall.

The next race with Kettering Town Harriers representation was the U17 and U20 Woman’s combined race. Hayley Munn who came back from University for the weekend stole the show with a fantastic performance to finish 1st with a time of 20.41 minutes, 3 seconds ahead of the athlete in second place. Kelly Barnett completed the U20 Woman’s team and she ran a very good race to finish 13th with a time of 24.05 minutes. The U20 Woman team of Hayley Munn and Kelly Barnett came 3rd overall. Competing in the U17 Woman race was Danielle Smith (58th, 27.26 minutes) who ran the last section of the race with one shoe after one fell off going down the steep and bumpy hill. In the U15 Girls race Gina Diaz-Santania came 92nd with a time of 22.55 minutes.

In the U17 Men race Jake Waples continued his fine cross country season by finishing 15th with a time of 25.46 minutes, supporting Jake was the reliable and ever improving David Edwards (73rd, 29.01 minutes) and Daniel Thompson (85th, 31.38 minutes).

Sian Edwards also returned from University this weekend to compete for the Harriers too, and she ran a good race to finish inside the top ten with a time of 34.22 minutes.

By the time the last race of the day approached the course was a mud bath, but that didn’t stop Andrew Clawson, Alan Rain or Shane Smith who all ran well to finish the 12km course. Andrew Clawson came 247th with a time of 57.10 minutes, Alan Rain produced a brilliant sprint finish to edge another athlete to come 288th (1.01.31 minutes) and lastly Shane Smith who came 299nd (1.03.08 minutes) in what was only his second race of the year.

A special thank you for all those who supported Kettering Town Harriers athletes on Saturday. Especially the ever present Kirsty Rain who has supported Kettering Town Harriers this weekend and throughout the course of the whole cross country season.