ATHLETICS: Elisha excels as she makes it into top 20

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Rugby & Northampton have been busy battling on all fronts, with athletes competing in the Birmingham Cross Country League, Midland Women’s League, Midland Open and the London Games over the past two weekends.

In the Cross Country League’s penultimate Division One fixture, held at Coventry’s Coundon Hall Park, Elisha De Mello became the ninth Rugby & Northampton athlete to make the top 20 this season, crossing the line in 17th.

The 21-year-old covered the five-and-a-half mile course in 27 minutes and 25 seconds, leading the team home and helping to secure ninth spot in the third fixture of the season.

Next over the line was William Gardner, who finished 32nd in a time of 28:10, and he is now just one race away from becoming the club champion. Robert Male followed in 61st (29:05) and achieving a best-ever 70th place was the first veteran over the line, Stephen Marks, in 29:29.

Junior athlete Ben Musgrove clinched 100th spot with a time of 30:23, and Alistair McDonnell completed the scoring six by placing 111th in 30:39. The result lifted the A team three places to ninth in the overall standings, and the B team also sit ninth courtesy of a seventh-placed finish on the day.

All of the B team consisted of Veterans, with Paul Birch leading the way in 116th in a time of 30:50. Mike Andrews followed in 31:15 to claim 127th, then came Dean Oldfield with a personal best 149th spot (32:02).

Closing out the top 12 were Brendan Moen (154th - 32:09), Jonathan Taylor (167th - 32:43) and Nigel Roberts (181st - 33:14 ).

R&N had seven other athletes taking part with Vince Carroll (200th - 34:06 ), Adrian White (252nd - 37:30), league debutant Daniel Nikel (259th - 38:06), Adrian Reast ( 264th - 38:23), the returning Terry Egan in his 115th league race ( 269th - 38:53), Ian Wright (275th - 40:28) and John Saw (282nd - 43:11).

Elsewhere, the Midland Women’s League Division One took place at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton, with five athletes turning out for R&N.

Amy Sarkies had her best performance of the season, placing 31st overall and finishing as the fifth fastest veteran in a time of 25:12.

Junior athlete Rebecca Leadbeater recorded 26:17 for 42nd (13th U20) and there were season-best positions for veterans Angela Copson BEM (66th - 28:05), Zoe Shepherd (73rd - 28:43) and Minerva Chesser (80th - 29:15).

The Senior team finished in ninth place and the Veterans took fifth overall.

The fourth and final race is a joint fixture with the Men’s Birmingham League at Warwick University on February 11.

Elsewhere, at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, the Midland Open Throws season opener took place in cold and damp conditions. R&N had several athletes moving up to new categories, meaning new weights for some of the throwers.

Fenton Bishop-Timings, in his first competition as an U17M, threw an excellent 41.12m in the javelin and 27.30 in the discus - both PBs. Mica Quinn had her first competition as an U15G and also threw well in the javelin for a PB of 24.49.

In the U15G discus, Maia Reynolds started her second year in the category with a PB of 25.06 and added a solid 8.29 in the shot put.

In the indoor Midland Open, where all races take place over 60 metres, there was an excellent start from Ruby Wood in her second year in the U13G category, achieving a PB of 8.77 seconds on the flat, while there was a promising effort from Amelia Tutt, who added a PB of 9.80 over the hurdles.

There were further successes in the field events with Millie Watford equalling the club indoor U15G high jump record, clearing 1.45. Twin sister Ella was not to be outdone, leaping 4.87 to equal her best effort in the long jump.

Reynolds and Tutt took their form into the London Games at Lee Valley this weekend, with the former adding a PB in the shot put (8.64m) and the latter beating her best time over hurdles in 9.71.

There was more joy for the Tutt family with Josh winning the U13B shot put (10.20) and Sam Tutt setting a new fastest time over the hurdles, crossing the line in 8.64.

Florence Matthews made a big improvement in the long jump, leaping 4.24 for a new PB, and Xcenia Pasqualin capped off another strong event for the club with another individual best, finishing the hurdles in 10.73 seconds.

Simon shrugs off slip to record superb time

SILSON AC men’s team captain, Simon Woodward managed to slip over on the ice during his warm up for the Buckingham parkrun on Saturday.

For most people that would be enough to call it a day and not run, but not for Woodward. He went on to run the 5k distance and managed to be the first runner back home in a superb time of 18:00.

Father and daughter team Paul and Chelsey Rose completed the Ranscome Winter Challenge. They both completed the Marathon distance. This was Paul’s 92nd Marathon and Chelsey’s eighth, however they chose to run this one together and finished in an amazing time of 5.31.

Four of the Silson AC u13 girls (Cara Mannix, Emily Hinton, Georgia Corcoran and Katy Mannix) represented Sponne School against other local schools in a cross country race at Abington Park in Northampton. They all did themselves proud.

The sub zero (minus 5 to be precise) temperatures of Sunday morning didn’t deter eight-year-old Holly Thomas (JW10) from running the Milton Keynes junior parkrun and cutting over a minute off of her PB.

The cold conditions also played in Paul Holmes’s favour at the Gayton 10k when he grabbed himself a shiny new PB of 45 minutes.

Caroline Mackenzie and Sally Stephens had a wonderful time running more than 10k at the Wellingborough Dirt Run.

David Morley, Gemma Hinton, Richard Popiel and Sue Torrance all took on the Farnborough Half Marathon on Sunday. Hinton knocked nearly 10 minutes off of her previous half Marathon PB.

James Darcy ran an immensely quick half Marathon in Windsor on Sunday. The event took place around the scenic Dorney Lake and finished in 1:25.