BELPER Harriers got back to running in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire County Cross-country Championships at Wollaton Park Nottingham.
After a long lay-off due to the Arctic weather when races were cancelled or postponed, many of the runners would not have been as well prepared as they should have been for this strong competition.
The course was relatively dry considering the wet weather recently but there was a strong wind and some sunshine to contend with.
The Belper contingent of eight runners could all be well-pleased with their performances, particularly Jack Daykin running in the under-17’s race of 6,000 metres.
ack finished 12th overall in the race and sixth Derbyshire runner home, in a time 23mins 24secs. This put him in the Derbyshire team for the Inter Counties Cross-country Championships at Birmingham in early March.
The ladies race of 8,000 metres saw Steph Ilsley and Gemma Irvine amongst a strong field with Steph finishing 11th Derbyshire runner in a time of 32mins 36secs and Gemma 14th in 34mins 36secs.
The senior men’s race over 10,000 metres had five Belper runners and all five needed to count for the team competition.
Mark Riches was the first back from the club in a time of 40mins 31secs with Malcolm Weir, Rob Norman, Steve Meath and Andy Dakin all finishing within three minutes of each other.
Once again although not the strongest team the club could get out they still finished fourth in the team competition.
This Saturday will see the final race in the North Midlands League back at Wollaton Park but most likely on a different course.
This has been the club’s first season in this league and whilst the first race in Derby, the club did very well, the second race saw only three runners from the club compete at Kettering.
The third races did not see any Belper runners travel to RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire due to the severe winter weather.
The following day will see the third race in the series of the Booth Decorators League at Trent Meadows Long Eaton.
This is a new venue for the league and hopefully will see a good attendance of runners from all clubs particularly the Harriers.
At the moment the club is lying in fourth place in the combined team event, fourth in the men’s and fifth in the ladies. There have been no races in this league since early November and the series could now be down to four races instead of the usual five.