Sunday was the 5th and final race in the Three Counties XC league. Going into the last race, NHRR had some great positions to hold onto - leading the combined, 2nd in the mens and 3rd in the ladies. The combined competition was tight at the top and there was effectively a last race shoot out for the title.
With great spirit and confidence, a scurry of 49 heroic squirrels made the trip to Bedford to battle it out in the mud for the league title. Other squirrels turned out in support too. The course had been shortened earlier in the week due to part of Priory County Park being under water with all the recent rain. Although the weather was mild on the day, the terrain was flat and there was no wind, it was slippy in the mud and tufty grass. There was a few large puddles to get through and indeed a lovely ford to negotiate too. Everybody got wet feet. Being shorter too it meant the pace was higher. Every squirrel gave it their all. Coach Karen gave out some last minute advise on the start line - “its not where you are after mile one, its where you are at the finish line that counts!”.
The scoring team of 8 men all came in the first 22 of the race, giving their lowest score this season. The ladies did fantastic too, producing their 2nd best score this season. The produced NHRR's best combined score this season and also produced a combined team victory. The men also won on the day and the ladies were 2nd.
This maintained the status quo. NHRR Squirrels came home grinning from ear to ear with the combined team league title - NHRR are the league Champions! Runners up in the men and 3rd in the ladies. This is the first time NHRR have won the combined title in 6 years.
Scoring for the men were Jim McConnell (5th), Ed Price (9th), Darren Sunter (10th), Adam Bowller (14th), John Rayner (15th), John Auld (16th), Matt Sayers (20th) and Ryan Smith (22nd).
Scoring for the ladies was Katie Harbon (1st), Jane Clarke (8th), Helen Nuttall (10th) and Astrid Mckeown (14th).
NHRR also won some individual trophies. Jim McConnell won the over V35 category. Ed Price won the over V40 category. Ed said afterwards “Going into the last race, the title was wide open. We still had everything to lose, but everyone turned up and gave it their all. Cross country is a team sport, and running together is what brought us the win today”.
Pictured from left to right is the ladies team captain, Katie Harbon with the ladies team 3rd trophy. The XC secretary, John Auld, with the combined team trophy. The men's team captain, Pete Sibbet, with the men's 2nd place trophy. Photo by James Walsh.
The full turnout of squirrels in the results is given below;
Jim McConnell (5th), Ed Price (9th), Darren Sunter (10th), Adam Bowller (14th), John Rayner (15th), John Auld (16th), Matt Sayers (20th), Ryan Smith (22nd), Mark Vaughan (28th), Stewart Overton (39th), Dan Hills (42nd), Vincent Wright (50th), Andy Green (52nd), Katie Harbon (56th) Dan Martin (59th), Nick Malpeli (68th), James Keogh (70th), James Walsh (74th), Adrian Sherwood (81st), Jane Clarke (122nd), Helen Nuttall (127th), David Watson (128th), Steve Harris (141st), Astrid Mckeown (144th), Marcus Farnfield (150th), Sarah Mitcherson (164th), David Frampton (184th), Paula Adams (189th), Johnny Spinks (195th), Naomi Parkinson (227th), Paul Bowall (252nd), Linda Aird (259th), Matt Ankers (262nd), Caroline Thrussell (268th), Niamh Barry (271st), Lucy O'Connor (274th), Adam Wilson (295th), Lucy Hurley (313rd), Hannah Keeble (332nd), Claire O'Sullivan (333rd), Karen Dodsworth (339th), Brian Baily (342nd), Andrew Porter (346th), Christine Sharpe (365th), Carina Quayle (372nd), Helen Cromack (378th), Jane Tyler (381st), Lindsay Cook (388th) and Joy Stroud (390th).
Andy Grudzinski travelled to Gothenburg in Sweden for the Sandsjobacka Trail of 44.6km in Scandinavian mud and 730m of hills. Andy completed the race in -4 degrees Celsius in a time of 7:02. When asked was it worth it, Andy said yes, with mud splattered from head to toe, bruised legs/arms/knees, having met all sorts of runners and gained the smallest of medals: what a great way to spend a Saturday in January.
Squirrels appeared in Parkruns this week at Stevenage, Ally Pally and Barclay. Rob Milburn, Chris Poole, Steve Lummis and Lewis Green ran Stevenage. Phil Hunt ran at Ally Pally and Paul Phasey ran at Barclay.
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