The Nationals - A Personal View By Tony Phillips (03/03/2014)

A week last Saturday the club cross country season ended for most runners at a new venue, the impressive and historical Wollaton Park, Nottingham, where the English National Cross Country Championships were held for the first time, organised by the English Cross Country Association and Notts.A.C. The day turned out to be a great success with over 10,000 runners and spectators involved, and a record number of nearly 4,700 athletes competing in the different age groups. It was a bright near perfect day, in contrast to recent championships with snow, ice and rain , and deep mud underfoot. It was a fast undulating course with testing hills and muddy areas, and logs across the paths to break the rhythm of the runners.

With expectations high Tipton's best chance of medals was with the senior men's team including talented runners, but with the exception of Josh Lilly, who finished in 20th place for an outstanding run over the 10k course in a field of about 1700 runners , the team underperformed and finished 8th out of 127 competing clubs, a relatively good position but disappointing after being in the medals in the last three Nationals. Other team counters were 57th Phil Nicholls, 58th Richard Kay, 101st Ian Rawlinson, 127th Matt Granger and 128th Ian Williams, with Liam Roberts the first non-counter 137th.


Other notable results were the U20 Junior race in which the improving and first year junior Luke Vine finished 60th, and the U17 Men's team that finished 14th, with Gareth Griffiths 62nd in his first National, Jacob Anson 116th, Dan Owen 168th, and Chris Davies 193rd.

In the Women's Senior event over 700 finished, the leading Tipton runner was Amie Fithern in 45th place, a good effort in a successful season for Amie. The team were 15th, a commendable performance with 85 clubs finishing. Sophie Lynch was second counter, 119th showing improvement over the season in the senior ranks, Sue Street 139th and Sue Davies 186th completed the count.

The club now turn to the road relays, the Midland and National 12 stage at Sutton Park, and we should look forward to some good results. Tipton have been very successful in these relays in the past, with the senior men having an outstanding record. Since the modern event started in 1967 with Sutton Park as its venue, the London to Brighton National Road Relay preceded it, Tipton Harriers senior men's team have been in the medals on 31 occasions, winning the event 15 times, no other club can match this achievement, and 9 times in the silver medal place, and 7 winning bronze medals. So it is hoped that the squad can return to their best form to continue this fine record, and the best team can turn out on the day. Team runners, it will be worth the effort! Support the Midland Relay to qualify!

Tony Phillips, Coaching Coordinator