After a solid finish to last years track season, the University of Nottingham distance squad headed off to Markeaton Park in Derby to get their Cross Country season underway. The ladies race was 6k and the men’s race 9.8k.
First lady home was Chloe Bird who finished the course in an impressive time 26.38. Despite having been led by debutant Amber Reed round the first lap Chloe managed to pull ahead, finishing 8th, three places ahead of Amber in 11th. The final counter was another debutant Kiri Marsh (19th) who consistently held her placing ensuring that Nottingham University had three runners in the top 20. This meant that the senior ladies team finished second only behind Nottingham AC in the overall team rankings.
A little behind the first battle of the day had started between Megan Gildea and Katie Buckingham Megan led Katie the whole way round until the second and final lap where the two drew level. Despite Katie’s hard work, Megan doggedly pressed ahead in the last few hundred meters and managed to finish five seconds ahead of Katie. They finished 29th and 30th respectively. Beth Neal backed them up having run through the field to finish in 41st place. The final Nottingham University runners were debutants Emily Starman(54th) and Charlotte Richardson (75th). Both produced impressive runs, finishing in the top half of the field and looked at home in a strong field. Finally, the best run from a Nottingham University student was Lori Marshall who finished a strong second running for Nottingham AC.
In the men’s race debutant Tom McGuinness set out to shock club President Jack Millar by storming into second place immediately. Whilst grinning, Jack set about catching Tom which he did so so by the end of the first lap, however it wasn’t until the second lap that Jack finally started to pull away. Despite the club infighting Jack managed to finish the race in a memorable third place in just 32.30. Tom was 42 seconds behind and finished in sixth place.
In last years race Jack had led Nottingham University home in 29th place so the improved depth of the men’s team this year was highlighted by Matteo Gala and Dylan Stanway finishing 26th and 29th respectively. Dylan had led Matteo most of the way but Matteo managed to catch him on the third lap and pulled ahead of Dylan in time for the finish. Both Matteo and Dylan were debutants but our final counter was returner and club treasurer Will Morris. Despite a cold he produced a strong run finishing in 45th. Behind Will, another battle had developed between Greg Wright and Bruce Beckett. Despite a solid performance at Wednesday nights social Bruce couldn’t hang on to Greg (62) who outkicked Bruce (63rd) in the final few hundred meters of the race.
Having last been seen on the first lap telling spectators he had ‘lost his shin’ Jack Allison then emerged chatting to Daniel Cresswell. The two ran alongside each other until the finish where Jack (82) outkicked Dan (83rd) in a short sprint.
Our final four runners included a sick George Russell (115th), a fatigued Ewan McLachlan (127th) who raced on Saturday, Conor Vale (149th) who was constantly moving through the field throughout the race and a much improved Allan Wilson (203rd). After seeing the men’s and women’s team today at Derby I really, really can’t wait for BUCS.