Super start for Harriers in XC opener!

The opening cross country fixture of the season held at the traditional North Midland League venue of Markeaton Park, on a very warm & sunny October afternoon most un-befitting a cross country fixture, but welcome by most! The Harriers had a small MD squad competing, but with some terrific quality within their ranks.

In the rearranged fixtures it was the turn of the U11’s to start the race programme, and it was therefore new recruit Harriet Round who has been flying in training, also making her KTH debut on XC to start proceeding for the Harriers. She produced an outstanding run over the twisty 2km course, immediately hitting the front with a fast start, a position she held throughout the race while battling with Saffron AC’s Poppy Adkin for the win. Harriet was neck and neck all the way to the finish line and with both athletes being given the same time of 5:08, it was literally the thickness of a vest which separated the two with the Saffron AC athlete being given the nod. Harriet showed that she will be a force to reckoned this season and will be keen to reverse the decision in the next outing at Wicksteed park in a few weeks’ time.

U11 Harriet Round battles to the finish line, & so nearly a win in her KTH XC debut

The positive start was continued when U15 Emily Williams went one better to win her opening XC race with a superb race over the 3km course. Emily fresh from winning the Gold Medal National Road Relay’s the week earlier decided to sit in on the early leader, Heanor’s Lily Winfield, who true to form set off quickly to try and establish a lead. Emily kept a very close watch on the small gap which had been opened up, and she decided to make her attack in the final 300m in the downhill section, putting in a devastating change of pace to open up 40m on her rival to take a stylish victory in 12:28. Running in the same race was the sole U13 representative Josh Geddes who ran a solid race to finish in 29th place in 14:14.

Emily Williams stylish win in the U15G race

Not to be outdone, Dylan Bowley making his winter season race debut also produced a magnificent performance to win his U15B race as a bottom year athlete. Dylan had also decided to sit in on the slightly under distance 5km course, settling in behind the Darby AC’s pair of Jake Martin & Ethan Barr, and tracking the pair closely until the final uphill section where Dylan put in a hard effort to break the pair and surge ahead to open a 80m gap in the final 500m, powering his way to an impressive victory in 15:47. The U17W who were in the same race, saw Sophie Moss putting in a great run to finish in 10th place in the 27 strong field in 19:23

Dylan Bowley a terrific win in the U15B race as a bottom year athlete

There was also a highly impressive performance from U20 Claudia Nevett who was racing for the first time over the full 6km course, who ran a terrifically strong race to finish as the 5th U20 and 20th overall in the 178 strong field in 27:48, with the only other senior woman in action Evelyn Clawson who was making her XC debut, running well for 135th in 35:44.

In the U20/ Senior Men’s race Edward Cannell made a huge improvement from the same fixture 1 year ago where he finished in 126th by finishing in a highly respectable 9th in the U20 competition (54th overall), slicing over 2 minutes from his time and getting one of the afternoon’s biggest cheers with his trademark sprint finish where he flew by two athletes in the final 80m with a well-timed finish to complete the 10k course in 37:08. There were two other senior men in action with Andrew Clawson and Paul in 181st (43:27) & 243 (47:40) respectively.

In the U17 men’s race Josh Cannell, ran a respectable opening race to finish the 6k course in 23rd position in 25:33.

In the final race of the day the U13G over the slightly shorter than 3k course, Mia Brockway was the only Harrier in action, and she also produced a top quality race to finish in 9th place out of the 44 strong field in 11:11.

Two victories, a very close runner up spot and 4 top 10 placings in the opening fixture was a terrific performance for the start of the Cross Country season, and with many more of the squad likely to be available in the next fixture on home turf at Wicksteed Park on 12th November, the squad will be looking to capitalise on this.

Further afield there was a terrific performance from KTH's Claudia Kelsall competing for Bath University in the Gloucestershire Cross Country League, just losing out to a sprint finish to her team mate she finished in third place in the Senior Ladies race in 24:05 helping the University of Bath to a comfortable team victory.

Well done to everyone who ran.