Midland Cross Country Championships (08/02/2016)

Tony Philips shares his thoughts on this years's Midland Cross Country Championships,

Last weekend Tipton Harriers retained their runners up position in the Midland Cross Country Championships, but with an improved score with fewer points over 2015, 142 as against 209.

At the new Midland venue organised with a few days notice, the original Stafford course being flooded. Midland officers arranged for the equipment to be transported to. Prestwood Park near Loughborough, with the local Leicestershire schools official and East Midland clubs providing the local support to enable the championships to go ahead.

The course proved to be a good test for the runners , with hills and slopes, soft underfoot with muddy stretches. The cold wind added to the demanding conditions for a competitive event.
Your supporter found it an encouraging afternoon after a year's absence from events, medical treatment, the last being a hip replacement, preventing attendances since last year's National Championships at Parliament Hill.

It was good to see a 'new' team performing so well, with the club's competitors improving their performances compared with the previous year. Outstanding improvements came from Sean Barnsley from 109th to 32nd, and Chris Gillespie 57th to 38th.

Reliable team member Ian Williams showed improvement 32nd to 18th. Mike Aspinall, the team's leading performer put in another fine run and Sean Byrne showed remarkable form to finish 11th, with Adam Solely in 34th place displayimg strong running over the later phases of the course. It was an impressive sight to see the trio of Sean, Adam, and Chris moving up the field on the final lap, while front runners Adrian, Sean and Ian picked up places late in the race, the six counters finishing strongly.

Tipton would have still picked up the silver medals if supporting runner Tom Holden, 66th, or Rich Powell, 72nd, or Dean Bate, 82nd, had counted as sixth scorer, showing how good the team effort was.

The improvement shown by Zabie Hassan, 102nd, and James Jefferson, 108th, was significant.

Unfortunately Sean Byrne won't be available for the National, the Army sending him off to Kenya for training, so the club need the 'missing' runners step up to take his place, to ensure another team performance of merit.

These would be useful in the final Birmingham and District Cross Country League at Aldersley, Wolverhampton, this Saturday, to finish a respectable final position in the league, the first six.

The good results from the U20's in the Midland have not gone unnoticed with Luke Vine, 11th, Gareth Griffiths, 15th, Tom Acha, 30th, and Jacob Anson, 39th, taking the silver medals. Luke and Gareth will be challenging for places in the forthcoming road relay senior team.