Sixteen Exeter Harriers members represented Devon at the UK Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Cofton Park, Birmingham last weekend. A nice, warm, sunny day saw the best athletes in the country compete over an undulating and muddy course. There were some outstanding performances by Exeter with across all age groups.
The first race which had an Exeter athlete in was the under 13 boys race, held over one 3k lap of the course with Sam Pyne running in his first UK Inter Counties finishing a respectable 235th in 12.34. The Senior Women were next up over a challenging 8k course with two of the club’s stalwarts again flying the flag as ever for the club. Katherine Humphreys was 223rd in 34.57 with Anna Rust 249th in 36.11.
In the under 13 girls race, held over one large lap of 3k, Runa Manby finished 294th in 14.59. In the under 17 women’s race, held over 5k, the club had a good representation with Katie Olding being the first home for the club in 140th place in 22.59. Kate Vine was next home in 194th in 23.57 with Zoe Kuyken just two seconds behind in 23.59.
The under 15 boys were next up on the course over 4500 metres. Alfie Devine-Wright was first home for the club in 162nd in 18.30 with Owen Coldwell 265th in 20.12. The Under 20 women’s race, held over 6k was next up with Rosie Chamberlain finishing in a solid 69th place in 24.33.
The under 17 men’s race saw a large mak eup of the Devon team made up from Exeter athletes which is a brilliant achievement. Matthew Dowell, who has had a good winter broke into the top 50 by finishing 49th in 19.51. Shaun Johnson was 135th in 20.50 and Patrick Livingstone did well in a higher age group this year to finish 190th in 21.25.
The penultimate race of the day saw two of our athletes, Phoebe Killen and Madeleine Roche compete in the under 15 girls race, held over 4000 metres. Phoebe finished in an impressive 166th place in 20.28 with Madeleine 190th in 20.52. The final race of the day saw the ever improving Jake Waldron tackle a 11k course in the senior men’s race. Jake managed to break into the top 100 for the first time with an excellent performance to finish 83rd in 37.27.
Also the club had 3 of our senior athletes competing at the British Masters Athletics Federation Indoor Championships at Lee Valley over the weekend with 4 masters titles. Richard Scott was the 400m champion in the M40 category in a season’s best time of 52.58. He then followed this up the following day by becoming 800m champion in 1.58.38. Ian Allen retained his M45 high jump title with a season’s best jump of 1.65, although he felt it was a bit off where he should be but happy considering his current level of fitness. He also won the long jump with another season’s best jump of 5.82 and finished 5th in the 60 metres in 7.80, again a season’s best. Rob Grew completed the trio competing for the club with an excellent silver medal in a high calibre M50 400m final in a time of 56.29 which was also a season’s best.
Meanwhile back in Devon, Simon Minting took on the crazy challenge of the Grizzly which can be described as 20 miles of hills, mud, beach, hills and even more hills. In his first ever Grizzly Simon did exceptionally well considering he came from a 400m/800m background to finish in 11th place in 2.35.08
In Cardiff, Miranda Hardacre competed in the Welsh Athletics International over 400 metres. Miranda finished in 4th place in 59.12 which was just outside her season’s best. Although on reflection Miranda said “The race didn’t quite go to plan but it was great experience and a great weekend altogether. I’m sure there’s a truism out there that says we learn more from our disappointments than we do from our successes.” A good attitude in which an athlete is always wishes to improve and does not rest on their laurels.