Caterina Granz finished in third place to help get the women’s team off to a promising start in the first league meeting of the season at Claybury. In the other races, George Kerry, John Fielding, Roisin Lynch, Sam Shindler-Glass and Mukhtar Farah all finished with top ten places but there was little good news from the point of view of overall team performances – especially for the men on their return to Division One.
On a dry and mild day, there was more mud for the runners to contend with than has often been the case here in the past and the slippy conditions helped cause problems for a number of our youngsters. Here’s how everyone got on:
Under-13 boys: George Kerry was first home in 5th place with John Fielding (8th) not very far behind. Marcus Browne was next in 27th and Mark Simons (34th) completed the scoring just ahead of Luke Adar (35th). The team finished in 5th place.
Under-13 girls: misfortune struck two of the team of five out on the course and they ended up receiving treatment for leg injuries in an ambulance. Despite this, the three surviving runners, Roisin Lynch in 8th Emma Purcell 22nd and Cameron Thomas 23rd finished as 4th team. Graham French has reported that both Nell Moran (painful ankle) and Emily Wheedon (pulled hamstring) are both OK and will hopefully be back racing fairly soon.
Under-15 boys/Under-17 men: Sam Shindler-Glass led the team home in 7th place ahead of under-15 Mukhtar Farah (9th). Two more U15’s Reece Farren in 42nd and Conor McCarthy (43rd) completed the scoring ahead of Karolis Narvilas (52nd) and Jack McKim (55th). Reece ended the race with some deep gashes which needed some attention from the first aiders. Although the team finished in 6th place, they were not too far away from 3rd.
Under-15 girls/Under-17 women: Courtney Marshall ran well in her first league race as an under-15 to lead the way in 16th place ahead of Olivia Will in 23rd and U15 Martha Hayward (24th). Another U15 Millie Atherton completed the scoring in 31st followed by Katrina Will in 32nd, Josie Elliott (35th) and Joanna Vale (41st). Katrina did well to finish as she was another injury casualty as was Besirat Tesfu who dropped out with an ankle problem.
Women: on her cross country debut for the Club, our latest euroathlete Cati Granz was up with the leaders from the start and with a lap to go was part of a breakaway group of three runners. In the end she had to settle for 3rd place but had the consolation of finishing as first under-20. This was also the highest ever Met League placing by an ESM woman, topping Mel Newbery’s 4th place from 2009.
Fiona Kennedy was next home in 47th ahead of Sarah Richardson (61st) who was back racing on the country for the first time since giving birth last year. Completing the scoring were Patricia Thomas in 80th and Carol Jones in 83rd. In her first ever cross country race, Claudia Manera finished 94th and Gill Morgan was 105th.
Cati Granz and Pat Thomas at the start
The team is handily placed for another bid for promotion after finishing 2nd in Division 2. They also fared well against the other vets teams, finishing in 4th place.
Men: after the great start to the season here a year ago, normal Claybury service was resumed as we failed to finish a full team. With half an hour to go, we actually had twelve runners but with Will Pinder not starting after developing a calf problem in warm-up and Archie Allen feeling ill and dropping out on the first lap, the team’s spearhead was badly weakened.
After starting cautiously, Sam Ashcroft moved through the field to be first home in 25th place. Angelo John had a fine run to finish first vet in 64th place ahead of U20 Mark Cameron in 81st and Steve Elson (88th). U20 newcomer Mohamed Hashi was 108th, V45 Rob Brown 152nd and Tom Yates 167th. Veterans Steve Plested in 256th John McKim (286th) and John Falvey (312th) were the remaining scorers.
It ws no surprise that the team ended up in 10th place on its return to Division1 but if reinforcements can be brought in for the next race at Stevenage there is no reason why it cannot close the gap on some of the teams above it in the table.