On the 27th of November 22 University of Nottingham Cross Country runners descended upon Holme Pierrepont Nature Reserve for the first fixture of the East Midlands Cross Country League.
At 11.00 am the men’s and ladies race set out on a tight and twisting course. A strong Nottingham University ladies team was comfortably led home by debutant Hannah Novakovic who led the race from the start to finish. Hannah extended her lead to over a minute by the finish, providing the first, 1st place finish at any cross country this year for the University of Nottingham. Katherine Owen followed this up by only narrowly missing out on a podium finish to place 4th in her first race for the university this season. If the East Midlands League was hoping for a competitive team competition they were soon to be disappointed. Alexandra Ridge finished 6th in another strong performance to back up Manchester Relays and provide the final counter for the winning ladies team.
Not far behind the first three, veteran runners Hannah Fleet, Alice Hughes and Beth Neal all produced strong runs to finish 9th, 10th and 11th respectively. Their consecutive finishes meant that our second team finished third in the overall ladies’ team standings. An ever improving Charlotte Richardson followed close by in 14th with another good performance. Fiona Starkie then wrapped up a tremendous ladies’ race finishing 32nd on her debut race.
Not to be outdone by the dominant ladies’ team performances, XC Captain Adam Thorpe produced a tremendous tempo run (seems to be popular amongst XC Captains!) to win the men’s race. Adam was the only sub 30-minute runner on the 8k course and finished in 29.57 and on his return from injury is looking very strong. Only nine seconds behind Adam, Jack Crabtree’s former training partner Dylan Stanway produced an impressive performance to make it a Nottingham University 1-2. Complementing our first two counters, Rob Middlewick and debutant Ben Ashby finished 5th and 9th respectively. This meant for the first time this year the UON’s men team finished first in the team event.
Not too far behind, club Treasurer Will Morris (12th) led in the second team alongside debutant Lewis Fagge (11th), Ewan McLachlan (18th) and Matt Simpson (42nd). All raced very well and Ewan described is as ‘probably the best cross country race that I’ve ever done’*. An injured Greg Wright was the first finisher for the third team and debutants Chris Thompson (59th), Miran Faily (68th) and Alex Gardener all provided notable performances. This was wrapped up by another debutant Kelvin Leong (93rd), Allan Wilson (106th) and Michael Gaynor (112th )who’s good races ensured we ended the day on a high.
Thanks to everyone who came along to a great day with some superb performances. Next up is/was Leeds!
*It’s on Strava