Rugby & Northampton AC’s youngsters shone as the club took four individual titles and six team golds in the Northants Cross Country Championships at Abington Park.
While in the two senior races, one was noted for a former champion’s comeback and another for an exhibition of cross country running.
Formerly employed in Northampton and now representing Swansea AC, Sian Edwards travelled from Wales and took the field apart in the senior ladies race.
Edwards recorded 19 mins 45 secs over a slightly extended 5k course to win by a minute and six seconds, which gave her a hat-trick of titles.
In the men’s race, ex-Northampton runner Mathew Almond defied the odds to win back the title he last won three years ago when he claimed a 30-second victory over defending champion Rory Grant.
Almond has fought back from serious health issues in the last two years and admitted this third victory meant the most to him. He recorded 36 mins 55 secs on a course just over 10,000 metres.
Kirsty Goddard of R&N had a convincing victory in the under-15 girls race over 3,000m when she was timed at 12.59 for a 19 seconds win over clubmate Lily Carmichael and along with Ciara Moore in eighth on 14.53 they took team gold.
The club had a clean sweep in the under-13 boys event over 2,500m with Joshua Lay winning the title in 10.15 and silver and bronze going to Ewan Roberts (10.19) and Adam Searle (10.20) respectively.
The under-13 girls also claimed gold over the same distance and were led home by Poppy Carmichael in third place on 11.15. She had back up from Emer Wintsch (4th in 11.23) and Georgia Willix (6th in 11.29).
The individual title went to Tabatha Walford of Kettering with 10.37.
R&N were also victorious in both the under 11 individual and team races over 1,700m.
The girls saw a win for Georgina Woodward in 7.30, followed by Abigail Pearce (2nd in 7.37) and Zoe Morling (4th in 7.59).
They had good back up from Jessica Maybin (th in 8.04) and Molly Williams (6th in 8.06).
Ben Hope won the boys event in 7.15, closely followed in second and third by Harry Andrew (7.16) and Ger Supple (7.18). Zac Thorman finished sixth in 7.35.
The final team victory for Rugby & Northampton came from the under-17 men.
Tom Charteress covered the 5k course in 21.02 to finish in 4th position and his winning team mates were Oliver Munns (5th in 21.50) and Edward Wise (6th in 22.01).
In the first race of the day, R&N’s Ben Musgrove won bronze in the under-15 boys category in a race won by defending champion Josh Cara of Kettering.
The winner recorded 16.19 for 4,200m while Musgrove was timed at 16.42 and with his clubmates Kyran Wilson (4th in 16.50) and Oskar Potomski (6th in 17.22) they took the silver medals.
Over the same distance Bethan Goddard led the u-17 women for the club in fourth spot with 19.03 and along with Zoey Garlick (5th in 19.10) and Sian Williams (9th in 21.22) they also won silver.
Kayli Walford had a good victory for Kettering with 18.28.
The senior ladies from R&N had to surrender their team title to Wootton Road Runners, but Jo Pulsford was the first athlete home for the club in seventh place with a time of 22.36.
Sarah Bennett followed in 10th on 22.56, but she had the consolation of winning the bronze medal in the U20 women’s category an event won so emphatically by Aldershot’s Melanie Wood in 21.27.
Closing off the senior team for R&N was Daisy Melville in 11th spot (23.07).
Chris Perez also clinched seventh position when leading home Rugby & Northampton in the senior men’s race to record 38.52.
In finishing 12th on 40.03 Luke Robinson won the silver medal in the junior men’s competition behind Birchfield’s Grant. Making up the scoring six for the club were Chris Lamb (15th in 40.31), Brendan Moen (16th in 40.42), Vince Carroll (19th in 41.18) and Paul Jolliffe (25th in 43.20).
Wootton Road Runners claim ladies’ crown
Wootton Road Runners were celebrating success as their ladies stormed the ladies title at Abington Park.
Imogen Norton took a superb third place, behind international star Sian Edwards and Birchfield’s Nicole Roberts.
Norton was well supported by Julie Dixon in sixth place and Vicky Ayliff in ninth, Jasmine Lowdon, Nicola Wood and Terri Mason. Norton, Dixon and Ayliff comfortably took the team title with 19 points from Rugby & Northampton who came secondnd with 28 points.
Wootton also took fourth place in the team competition.
A combination of injury, illness and clashing commitments ensured Wootton were unable to enter a male team.
However, James Armstrong ran his usual gutsy race to finish 32nd in a very strong field, with Steve Heighway a creditable 37th.