North Midland XC Wicksteed Park

The second fixture of the 2023/24 North Midland League saw the Harriers playing host at Wicksteed Park in Kettering with some fine performances from a somewhat depleted squad. Conditions were in stark contrast to the XC relays one week earlier with dry and somewhat warm sunny conditions rewarding those that turned out.


U13 Elsie Bennett was the standout performance on the day, making her league debut and running for the first time at Wicksteed Park she produced a run of real quality over the 3.2k course. The only Harrier competing in the Race, Bennett made a prominent start and settled in in just off the leading two athletes in a small chase group after the first km. With the leading two athletes gradually pulling away, Bennett was in a battle for third place with three athletes in contention and with 200m to go she turned on the afterburners and impressively swept past her rivals with a super finish to take third place in 12:21, three seconds ahead of Mansfield Harrier Isla Millns.


Brilliant NML debut for Elsie Bennett for 3rd place in the U13 Girls race


U11 Callum Johnson also enjoyed a fine race in the U11’s with a strong run over the 2km course to finish in 4th place in 7:45, just a second ahead of Charnwood’s Ruari Hayden.


Callum Johnson with a fine 4th place finish in the U11 Boys race 


U13 Oliver Smith also had a fine race to finish in 5th place, finding himself in 7th place and closing down two athletes in the final 200m Smith produced his trademark quality finish to first take Mansfield Harriers Edward MacInty, and then in a charge to the line to snatch 5th place from Leicester OWLS Lucas Wayman with both being given the same time of 13:19. Harry Ambery finished in 24th place in 15:07.


Oliver Smith (left) with a fine race to finiah in 5th place in the U13 Boys


The U15 Boys finished in 7th place in the team scores with Harlee Hooker top scorer in 18th place in 18:45 over the 4.5km course, with Finley Brooker in 21st (19:27) and George Sharp 25th (20:25). The U15 Girls finished in 5th place in the team competition with a fine run from Iona Ellwood to finish in 14:23, with Freya Allitt in 14th (16:33).


The sole Harrier competing in the senior Women’s race was new recruit Sopia Perkins who finished in a highly credible 61st place in 28:22 over the 6km course.


The senior Men’s Race was far better supported with Josh Geddes leading the way for the harriers with a superb race to finish in 8th place in 35.21 over the tough 10km course. Joe Young also had a fine run to finish in 36th place (38:07) with Andrew Murphy also running a strong race for 58th (39:46), with Josh Cannell & Tony James the final two scorers for the team in 79th (41:06) & 85th (41:38) respectively securing a top 10 finish in 9th place. Ellis Johnson finished just out of the points in 86th (41:41) while Phil West finished in 95th (42:02) and Jamie Harris making his XC debut running well for 108th (42:53) with the final two Harriers in action Ian Corns & Rob Cole in 164th & 179th respectively.


Senior Men's Josh Geddes top scorer with a superb run for 8th place


For most the next test will also be a the familiar surroundings of Wicksteed Park at the Charity Cup in early December, well done to everyone who run.