On a cold and overcast Saturday afternoon, 28 Harriers took part in the Kent County Masters XC Champs at Central Park in Dartford.
There were two different length courses split over four races. The M50s and M40s ran the longer 8.4 km course, consisting of one small and four large laps. All the other age classes ran the shorter 5.2 km course, consisting of two small and two large laps.
Most of the course was pan flat, favouring the faster runners. Each large lap also consisted of a drop down a steep bank, a short climb up through the woods, and a further drop and climb back onto the main playing fields. This year the ‘middle’ shorter race was split into two separate races to avoid congestion at the finish.
Brenda Purse and Tara Taylor both ‘ran up’ into a younger age class for tactical and team composition reasons. Everyone else ran in their usual age classes.
The M50s started the first race of the day with TWH fielding five runners. Simon Howden was first Harrier home followed by Robin Barwick, Danny Winson and Andrew Deighton who made up the team of 4. They finished 9th out of 11 teams.
The second race was for the M60, M70+ and W65+ age classes, all running together, but scored separately. This year we had five M60 and three W65+ runners taking part.
Andy Howey, making a return to cross country after a long absence, led the entire field from the start. He maintained his lead up until the final lap where he was narrowly beaten into second place, winning the Individual Silver Medal. Our remaining M60s also put on a great show with Geoff Turner finishing next followed by Steve Bolton, running his first race for the club, to complete the team of 3. They finished first out of 11 teams, taking the Gold Team Medal.
In the W65+ race, Stella Richardson, still struggling with a calf injury, finished third overall to take the Individual Bronze Medal. She was followed by Lucille Joannes and Margaret Deighton. Unfortunately there are no team awards for the W65+ and M70+ classes.
Race 3 featured all the remaining women’s age classes (W35, W45 and W55). In the W35 class, Vicky Eames was first Harrier home, followed by Sonja King and Brenda Purse to make up the team of 3. They finished 6th out of 7 teams.
In the W45 class, Tara Taylor was first Harrier to finish followed by Jillian Holford and Ali Farrall to make up the team of 3. They finished 3rd overall, taking the Bronze Team Medal.
The M40s ran the final race of the day. In an extremely competitive race, Ed Steele put on yet another great performance, finishing 9th overall and first Harrier. He was followed by Alex Holmes, Mike King and Matt Newman to make up the team of 4. They finished 7th out of 9 teams.
Not only was the racing excellent but the cake offering afterwards didn’t disappoint either. Many thanks to everyone who brought cake ;-). With the Malt Shovel closed, some of us retired to the rather dubiously named Growler Micro Brewery in Dartford high street, after checking out the impressive Rolling Stones sculpture on the way.
Consolidated TWH results attached.
Simon & Jillian
TWH XC Captains