C&AC’s Edwards battles back from injury lay-off to claim masters’ gold

Leamington C&AC's Kelly Edwards in action at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park. Pictures Rob Egan unless stated.
Leamington C&AC's Kelly Edwards in action at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park. Pictures Rob Egan unless stated.

Spa Striders hosted the third round of the Midland Women’s League Division One at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park on Saturday.

The new two-lap undulating course featured steep climbs, tricky descents and sharp cambers to test the strength of even the toughest athlete.

Leamington C&AC's Paul Andrew in action at Abington Park in Northampton. Picture submitted

Leamington C&AC's Paul Andrew in action at Abington Park in Northampton. Picture submitted

Leamington C&AC fielded 15 athletes with Kelly Edwards running a strong race despite coming back from an injury lay-off to finish 12th overall and first master in 27min 36sec.

Megan McDonald was 19th in 28:46, with Jenny Jeeves (29:19) continuing her fine form for 26th and third master and Zara Blower 37th in 30:19.

Sue Harrison was 67th and third master home for the club, putting them in 
first place for the third race 
in succession.

Courtney Depala (84th in 33:19) and Charlie Mitchell (86th in 33:26) were next across the line for Leamington.

Runners snake around shortly after the start at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park.

Runners snake around shortly after the start at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park.

Kenilworth Runners produced a solid performance, with Sarah Rose the second master behind Edwards in 28:14.

She was joined in the third-placed masters’ teams by Laura Pettifer (30:25) and Rachel Miller (32:00).

Rose, Pettiferand Miller also counted for the ninth-placed senior team alongside Marie Matthews (52nd in 31:07).

Spa Striders’ Claire Murphy was in her element on the gruelling course, finishing fourth master and 28th overall in 29:29 to help the masters’ team to second place behind Leamington.

Spa Striders' Susie Stannard and Leamington C&AC's Courtney Depala tackle the climb.

Spa Striders' Susie Stannard and Leamington C&AC's Courtney Depala tackle the climb.

She was closely followed by a fast-improving Fiona Edwards (30:01) and fellow masters’ runner Jo Fleming (30:55).

Laura Peake (30:58) completed Striders’ masters’ counters, just pipping Mel Venables (30:59).

The race was won by Kirsty Walker of Loughborough Students in a time of 25:56.

Spa Striders’ men were also in action at Burton Dassett, competing in Division Two of the Birmingham League. Chris McKeown (36:04) led them home, followed by Ian Allen (36:56), Adam Notley (37:40), Dave Mills (38:31), Steve Taylor 39:29) and Aitor Lorenzo (39:33) for fourth. They were joined by Tim Beresford (39:53), Neil Smith (40:43), Keith Wilson (41:41), James Hartwright (42:44), Simon Ludford (42:55), Pete Teevan (43:23), Gethyn Friswell (43:40), Ben Parkinson (44:02), Cam Gow (44:09), Chris Wilson (44:19), Dan Stannard (46:13), Andrew Pope (48:50), Hartwig Busch (49:44), Andy Roach (49:45), Shaun Martin (49:46), Ian Davis (50:28), James Berriman (51:06) and Anthony Claydon (54:02).

Leamington C&AC’s men face a battle to hang on to their Birmingham League Division One status after finishing 14th of the 16 top-flight teams at Abington Park in Northampton on Saturday.

Runners faced four laps of a deceptively hilly course, with Callum Hanlon leading Leamington home in a strong 23rd place in 32:25.

Paul Andrew was 58th in 33:41, with Baljeev Kandola (34:57) the third counter for the team in 81st place.

Phil Gould (96th in 34:57), Dominic Priest (117th in 35:50) and Isaac Rothman (119th in 36:00) completed the A team counters to leave C&AC in 12th place, two spots above the relegation zone, going into the final race of the four-race series.

Leamington’s B team were eighth on the day with Vassilis Andreoulakis (125th in 36:08), Iain McLaughlin (127th in 36:12), John Knibb (136th in 36:55), Dean Mawby (148th in 37:20), Jason Hill (177th in 38:30) and Jeremy Coward (184th in 39:05) making up the scoring team.

Kenilworth Runners, however, looked destined for the drop despite better results at Abington Park.

They lowered their overall team score by 50 points but their nearest rivals also improved on the day to leave the Green Army 15th out of 16 teams, both on Saturday and in the overall standings, with one race remaining.

Andy Siggers (76th in 34:12) was the first Kenilworth Runner home, with Ben Taylor (92nd in 34:47), George Crawford (100th in 35:07), Connor Carson (104th in 35:16), Ray Ball (108th in 35:27) and Stanley Doxey (113th 35:43) completing the Kenilworth counters

Runners’ B team of Dewi Williams (120th in 36:02), Matt Dyer (149th in 37:21), Nick Williams (151st in 37:23), Wayne Briggs (162nd in 37:50), Stuart Hopkins (172nd in 38:23) and Dan Leng (178th in 38:32) were ninth overall.

The race was won by Birchfield Harriers’ Omar Ahmed in 30:39 and there were 261 finishers.