ATHLETICS: R&N men secure Birmingham Cross Country League safety

Emily Williams claimed a gold medal at the midland indoor championships
Emily Williams claimed a gold medal at the midland indoor championships

Rugby & Northampton’s men ensured they will be competing in the top tier of the Birmingham Cross Country League next season after securing their Division One status over the weekend.

In the fourth and final fixture, held at Warwick University, Dominic Jones led the club home for the second time this season, covering the 9k course in 31 minutes and 11 seconds to finish 20th.

Veteran Stephen Marks had a terrific run to cross the line in 33:01 and earn a personal best 59th position, while Robert Male completed all four races this season by coming home in 64th place with a time of 33:28.

Also making the top 100 was Alistair McDonnell (85th - 34:06), before veteran Paul Rigby (119th) ran a 35:24 on his league debut. Daniel 
Williams completed the scoring six, earning a personal best 130th spot in 35:47.

The A team finished 12th on the day but had done enough in the earlier rounds to secure that top-10 league finish, while the B team’s 10th spot on the day kept them in ninth overall.

Just like in the previous race, the whole B team consisted of veteran athletes with Brendan Moen timed at 35:49 for 132nd, and chasing him hard over the line was Jonathan Taylor with his best ever league run, placing 137th in 35:53.

Nigel Roberts secured the veteran club title for the first time after sealing 167th in 37:27, and closing out the top 12 were Vince Carroll (177th - 37:51), Max Chippington (194th - 39:15) and Adrian White (211th - 40:21).

Three other athletes completed the squad with Terry Egan (223rd - 41:40), John Saw (233rd - 42:46) and Adrian Reast (239th - 43:21).

R&N’s Ladies were in action at the same venue, competing in the Midland Women’s Cross Country League.

In their first season in Division One following last year’s promotion, the squad unfortunately couldn’t retain their place and were relegated in 12th position.

However, the six athletes that took part for the club did produce their best performances of the season in Warwickshire, with junior athlete Rebecca Leadbeater finishing in 27th overall and eighth among the under-20 runners with a time of 23:55 over the 6k route.

The veteran team were seventh on the day and overall, with Zoe Shepherd crossing the line in 26:29 to take 64th, and just one place and two seconds behind was Angela Copson BEM – the pair finished as the 22nd and 23rd-placed veterans.

Helen Jones and Kate Williams were next over in 86th and 87th respectively, with times of 28:35 and 28:41, before Tilly Lea rounded off the squad scoring, squeezing in to the top 100 with a time of 30:37.

Silson youngsters impress in Chiltern

SILSON AC’s youngsters completed their Chiltern Cross Country League campaigns at the weekend.

The Silson under 13 boys team finish in an excellent second place and the U13 girls team finish in third.

The final round took place at Campbell Park in Milton Keynes on what was a bitterly cold and snowy Saturday.

A special mention goes to Eleanor Rees, who completed her 35th consecutive Chiltern League Race for Silson.

While his team members were freezing in Campbell Park, Jay Smith was lucky enough to grab a warm and shiny new personal best of 19:46 whilst partaking in a little parkrun tourism in Clermont in Florida.

Chelsey Rose finished the Bowie Challenge event feeling over the moon after taking an amazing 36 minutes off of her previous Marathon PB.

She was accompanied by dad Paul, who ran his 93rd Marathon, and on Sunday he completed the SVN Gothic Challenge (his 94th Marathon!).

Chelsey also ran 11 miles and Amber Rose 15.

On Sunday, Michael Spencer completed the Wokingham Half Marathon in a new PB of 1:31:09.

Williams claims indoor gold

Gold for Emily Williams was the highlight of a number of medals secured by the in-form Kettering Harriers middle sistance squad at the Midland Counties Indoor Championships held at the Barclaycard area in Birmingham.

Williams, a bottom year under-17 who is from Northampton and attends Northampton School for Giels, won the 800m with a dominant performance that saw her finish two seconds ahead of Stroud & District’s Annie Testar.

A scintillating last lap of 31 seconds carried her home in style.

Williams was delighted to take her first indoor title at the first attempt and enjoyed the experience of running a tactical race.

Based on this performance she will be looking to continue the success she enjoyed outdoors in 2016.

Coach Shane Smith said: “Emily has been in magnificent shape in training, working very hard with the top male athletes in the squad and she is now reaping the rewards.”