Sian is back!

It’s been a long time, but it was worth waiting for! After a seemingly interminable series of injury problems, Kettering’s Junior International Sian Edwards took part in her first cross country race for over two and half years in the opening fixture of the North Midlands Cross Country League, and showed that she is well on the way back to the form that made her one of the UK’s rising stars.

Sian’s last outing on the country was at the World Junior Championships in Kenya in March 2007. The competition at Deby’s Markeaton Park may have been more modest, but the Loughborough University student’s performance was still very impressive. After taking three or four minutes to size up the opposition, Sian forged ahead and built a winning margin of over 30 seconds by the end of the 6.5km race.

Rebecca Hall provided good support, finishing 18th in the field of 86, but the lack of a third scoring runner meant the Harriers slipped to 10th in the team standings.

There were several fine performances by KTH’s younger athletes in bright sunshine on a course that was firm underfoot, but included some testing hills. Jack Hope, Gina Diaz-Santana and Jake Waples all secured top ten finishes.

In the absence of Kettering’s top performer, Josh Cara, Jack stepped into the limelight with a fine 6th position in the Under 13 Boys race. He was well supported by Ethan Mehmet in 16th place, as KTH took 7th in the team competition.

Gina finished a superb 8th in an Under 15 Girls field of over 40, whilst Jake battled hard to hang on to 6th in the Under 17 Men’s race. In what was probably his best-ever North Midlands performance, David Edwards was 16th. With Dan Thompson finishing 25th, the Harriers were a close-up 4th in the team stakes.

In other races, Liam Kirk was 27th and Liam Smith 39th in the Under 15 Boys and whilst Ashton Wainwright (23rd) and Lauren Mehmet (31st) secured 8th place for Kettering in the Under 13 Girls.

Finally, the senior men sadly do not look like repeating their exploits of the past two seasons, when they finished 6th. Already severely depleted, they suffered another blow when Jonathan Goringe had to pull out through illness when warming up. This left the bare minimum of five runners, who were led home by Andrew Clawson in 107th. Robert Fletcher made a good debut for the Harriers in 141st, Alan Rain bravely continued with a leg injury to finish 144th and Paul Young was 151st. In the unaccustomed situation of actually counting for the team, Peter Goringe brought up the rear in 184th position in the field of 220, as KTH finished way down in 17th.

The next fixture is at Corby on November 14th, when we can expect a much fuller contingent of Harriers talking part.