Birmingham XC League, Cheltenham (11/11/2018)

It was a good start to the League season down the M5 at Cheltenham with a solid 3rd place for the team. The weather was kind for the race but many of the runners and spectators had encountered terrific downpours travelling to and from the race as well as one heavy one in the hour before the start. A rainbow heralded the start of the season over an undulating parkland course with the famous stream crossing.

Tom Bains started strongly and was up with the leaders early on. He finished 8th. Wily Stuart Hawkes was our second counter in 13th. With, what some thought was a super cross country run, young Louie Boot in 15th and 3rd counter Louie was 1st Junior Man which starts his winter season well. We then had Ian Williams in 26th; and Joe Smith 35th. Richard Carpenter was 6th and final counter for the "A" team in 46th.

Stephen Corbishley just got the better of Tom Holden, 75th & 76th, heading the "B" team scorers. Adam Soley just missed out on the top 100 with 102nd. Ben Carrington (130th); Phil Clamp (135th); Adam Guy (*); Karl Welborn (167th); Tom Acha (185th); Stuart Male (240th); Karl Fletcher (241st); Clark Woodhall (248th); Andy Acha (258th); Paul Lucas (282nd) and Stuart Whitehouse (290th) completed the twenty Tipton Harriers in a field of exactly 300.

The team finished 3rd to Loughborough Students (64) & Birchfield (65) with 143pts. It makes for an interesting season.

Thanks to Peter Brookes, sadly injured, for officiating, Tom Holden for team management duties, Jeff Taylor for the disc management and Bryan Mills for bringing the tent. Good to see a number of supporters around the course shouting the lads on including former members John & Julie Sheppard.

One annoying point was that new recruit Adam Guy had to be disqualified as the club had apparently not completed his EA registration and so he did not have a valid URN. He had been cleared by EA in October through the first claims procedures. Sorry Adam.

One interesting facet of the League each season, and in particular Division 1 this year, is the presence of the University teams. With Loughborough, Birmingham & Warwick all bringing their young teams to compete we get to see the next crop of star distance runners in action. Each season they have a new influx which refreshes the fields.

It is hoped that these athletes can see the strength of the established clubs in their areas, like Tipton Harriers, so that when the leave Uni they may consider joining up with one to continue their sport. Certainly Birmingham & Tipton have a rich history.

The next race is at Warley Woods on 1st December. Another strong turnout would be welcome.