The Cross Country Leagues - A Supporters View (15/11/2014)

Life Member, and big believer in the benefits of cross country, Tony Phillips, submits his thoughts on the races last week:-

"The main cross country season gathered momentum with the first Birmingham and District Cross country League meeting at Leamington, when all three leagues started together in a field of nearly 800 runners, with Tipton Harriers competing in Division 1 that had 286 finishers. Conditions were tough and muddy after torrential rain up to the start of the race. Dan Dalmedo was always up with the leading runners to finish 9th and lead the team with a good performance. Young Philip Wilson finished in his best league position, 24th, and is one of the club's most improved runners ,returning to his home area after being away at university. Liam Roberts, away from medical duties, ran very well in 30th place.

Another of the club's young runners , Sean Barnsley , also showed big improvement finishing 48th, after travelling from his northern university. Ian Williams was below his best form but still had a run full of effort to help the club to a good position with a 56th placing. The team was completed by a another determined run from Adam Soley, 60th, proving a valuable team member. Dan Beier finished just outside the count with a hard run in 66th place, followed by another of Tipton's young runners Jacob Anson, still a junior 85th, and Gareth Griffiths, also a junior' returning to competition after injury, 123rd, John Millington - good to see him competing again, 144th, followed by two younger members Zab Hassan,158, and Jon Hunt, 175, with reliable veterans Ray Stanier, 219, and Bryan Mills, 226th, with Nick Lellis, 239th, completing the turnout.

These finishers resulted in Tipton being placed in 5th position in League 1, with the two Universities, Birmingham and Loughborough, in the first two places, leading with a good margin from Cheltenham, followed by Coventry Godiva who lead Tipton by six points. A good opening race from Tipton, but the two Universities will be difficult to catch, and the club can still finish in the medals with a better turnout from our more experienced runners - about half ran in this first race - to support and encourage our younger and improving runners. The 'B' team finished 6th.

In the past top runners from the clubs proved that regular racing in a first class cross country league led to improved individual, regional and national performances. The next league race is at Abington Park, Northampton, on December 6th -Tipton runners turn out and support this event, and improve your performances!

The Senior women competed in the Midland Cross Country League on the same day at the same venue at Leamington, and made a promising start to the season finifhing 8th in a league of 40 clubs.
This was a good performance, as Amie Fithern was unwell on the day, and the fteam could have finished just outside the top three clubs with her usual good position in this league."