It was a double success for Lincoln Wellington AC in the Northern Cross Country Relays Championship at Graves Park, Sheffield, with both the men’s and women’s titles going their way with plenty to spare.
The host club, Sheffield RC, did an excellent job, the weather was good and the course, which has hosted so many top events over the years, is as good as there is.
Rotherham repeated their silver medal performance of last year in the women’s three stage race. They were led off by Natasha Hatswell, in ninth place on a very competitive stage and Zara Knappy then moved into fifth.
Rotherham saved their best runner to last and Sam Johnson ran superbly to clinch runner up spot.
Her time of 11:43 for the two mile course was the third fastest. Hallamshire, whose fastest runner was Zanthe Wray (12.02) finished fourth whilst Rotherham showed impressive depth when their B team finished eighth out of 51 teams.
In the men’s four stage race Sheffield University finished fourth and Hallamshire were sixth. Fastest Hallamshire runner was Tommy Horton (10:23) who gained two places on the final stage
In the under 17 men’s race there was a win for City of Sheffield and Dearne. Alfie Manthorpe (7:16) set them off in sixth place before Julian Slater (7:10) worked his way into a narrow lead over Vale Royal.
On the final stage Connor Henderson kept the challengers at bay and his time (7:00) was second fastest of the race.
Hallamshire were runaway winner of the under 13 girls race, the most impressive performance of the day. Ruby Simpson put them in the lead on the first stage clocking 5:44 and the lead was extended by Emma Shipley (5:51) and Zena Hartley (5:59) so that, by the end, they were half a minute clear of a strong Sale team. Simpson’s time was the second fastest of the race by just one second. The phenomenal strength of Hallamshire in this age group was underlined by their B team finishing fifth with Isobel Causer their fastest (6:04) and their C team seventh with Annie Naylor clocking 6:12. It did not end there because they had a further three teams giving creditable performances.
There were bronze medals for Rotherham in the under 17 women’s race with lead runner Mya Taylor their fastest runner whilst Hallamshire were bronze medallists in the under 15 girls race. Jodie Hill (7:50) put them in third place on the opening stage and that position was held by Eve Crownshaw (8:06) and Laura Trask (8:12).
The youngest age group was under 11 with most of the runners competing in this sort of relay for the first time. Barnsley AC won the boys race. Sonnyboy Hughes (5:06), Ben Nutter (5:17) and Jonson Hughes (5:13) were the successful trio and Barnsley also had Elliot Briscoe running a superb 5:11 for their B team.
In the girls race Hallamshire were third. Dulcie Bristow (5:19) led the field on the first stage and Gabriella Brown (5:44) held first place before Madison Cundy (6:04) brought the team home in bronze medal position.