A team of four runners from Grantham Running Club made the trip to Berry Hill Park in Mansfield to take part in the English Cross Country Relays on Saturday.
The annual event has teams participating from running clubs across the country and offers competitions for both genders across a variety of age groups. It also attracts the very best cross country runners in England, meaning a very strong field and a chance for local club runners to rub shoulders with the ‘elites’.
GRC’s team was taking part in the Senior Men’s Competition which consisted of four individual efforts on an undulating and slightly short 5km course (two laps). Whilst the weather was dry and sunny with very little wind, the rain prior to the event meant the conditions under foot were pretty heavy going. This was compounded by the Senior Men’s Competition being last on the schedule, meaning that the course had been significantly torn up by the runners beforehand.
Chris Limmer opened proceedings for GRC on leg A and probably had the toughest task of the four runners. This was due to the mass start and things being very crowded for the first kilometre or so until the field had spread out. Chris managed to fight his way through the crowd and finished in a very respectable 19min 32sec – the fastest time for GRC on the day.
Chris handed over to Paul Davis for leg B. Paul has been struggling with a knee injury of late and said afterwards that he felt he was lacking fitness. Nevertheless. he still managed to produce a very solid 22:42. He also managed to look as effortless as ever with his typically bouncy running style, despite the tough terrain and his recent injury problems.
Next up on leg C was Dan Towey – a recent addition to GRC. After showing much promise in his first few training sessions with the club, Dan did not disappoint, finishing in an impressive 20:53. There may be more to come as he commented afterwards: “I didn’t pace this very well. At the finish line, I felt that I still had plenty left in the tank.”
Finishing things off on leg D was Gav Meadows who just failed to break 21 minutes, finishing in 21:06. He said: “Beforehand, I was expecting to be around the 20 minute mark. However, this proved to be very optimistic.”
Team GRC finished in a very respectable total time of 1:24:14, placing 133rd in a field of 178 teams.
GRC’s overall performance was one to be very proud of. Perhaps it could be a realistic goal to make the top 100 in the next few years.