Round two of the Law Trust Cross-Country League took place at QE2 High School in Peel on Sunday 7th November in bright if blustery conditions. A turnout of 210 athletes found dry underfoot conditions both on the school field and on the adjoining farmland.
A new name headed the women’s race, with relative newcomer to cross-country Jess Bryan taking an excellent victory in her first race of the series. After a strong year on the fells she is now concentrating more on cross-country and roads, looking relaxed and smooth as she made her way round four laps of the undulating course.
Second place went to the ever-consistent Laura Dickinson who looked in fine form, and vet 55 athlete Gail Sheeley took third place and demonstrated that she is getting back to race fitness. Caroline Caren, Sara Hinds and Maggie Watkins filled the other top-six places.
There were no surprises in the men’s race where Ollie Lockley was again the quality act in the six-lap race. The many undulations and rough underfoot conditions in places caused no problems to the man who will be representing the Isle of Man in next year’s Commonwealth Games Marathon, and he was a joy to watch.
It was good to see u20 athlete Ieuan Owen getting back towards his best form and he was impressive throughout to take a clear second place just under two minutes behind Lockley.
The excitement came in the battle for third place, only a few metres separating Nhlanhla Nzama, Mark Burman and Dave Bignell for most of the race. On the final lap it was Burman who surged into a small lead over his rivals and he took third spot with six seconds to spare over Bignell, with Nzama a further 12 seconds down in fifth.
Sam Looker should be very pleased with his run for sixth place ahead of a tiring Alex Bell, and Chris Killey produced his best performance to date to finish eighth.
The short course race was won by Becky Watterson for the second time, 26 seconds clear of the fastest male competitor Darren Corkill.
Many of the age group races took place concurrently, with much close and competitive racing. In the u17 category, Ryan Corrin put a slightly disappointing run last time firmly behind him with a strong performance to win by 49 seconds from Corbyn Schade with Charlie Swales third.
Macy Hillier was again dominant in the u17 women’s race to take another victory, but Madison Mcmullan produced an excellent run to finish only 24 seconds behind. The standard throughout the u17 age group was extremely high.
In the u15 boys’ race Lucas Stennett impressed once again to win by a convincing margin, enjoying the opportunity to match strides with u17 winner Ryan Corrin albeit over a lap less than the older athlete. Molly Hinds was the winner of the u15 girls’ race and this should give her confidence to keep improving.
It was a Stennett double on the day with younger brother Harry winning the u13 boys’ race and showing what a promising athlete he is. His margin of victory was 36 seconds, which indicates how well runner-up Noah Campbell performed to keep Harry in sight all the way.
The u13 girls’ contest was very competitive. Holly Salter took a fine win, but only one second separated second-placed Abi Clayton and third-placed Kayleigh-Dee Corrin. This was a repeat of the first-round top three.
A feature of the youngest age group races for u11s and under-nines was how different many results were from the first round. Several athletes finished much higher than they did last time including Drew Suwinski, Max Wardle, Ollie Kennaugh and Polly Davies.
Gabe Campbell won the u11 boys’ race round two laps of the school field, up from third last time. In second was the aforementioned Drew Suwinski, up from sixth, and third was Corrie Brogan.
Olivia Martin and Poppy Clayton repeated their top two places from the first round in the u11girls’ race with Faith Teare third, up from sixth at Port-e-Chee.
The under-nine boys’ race over a single lap of the school field was a belter, with only one second between the first three. It was Cameron Eyres who took the honours this time, with Leighton Curphey just pipping Rory Teare to the line in an exciting sprint finish. Rory was sixth last time.
It was the same top two in the u9 girls’ race with Megan Williamson just one second ahead of Sienna Curphey in a very exciting race. Mollie McMullan placed in the top three for the first time, one second clear of Isabella Quaye. These were all excellent runs.
Here are the full results.
The thoughts of many cross-country runners are now starting to turn towards the Lancashire Championships at Witton Park in Blackburn in early January.
- Thanks to all at Western AC and to all the officials and marshals for putting on a most enjoyable event. Grateful thanks also to QE2 School and the farmer for use of the facilities and land, and to league sponsors Law Trust.
- Round 3 takes place at Port-e-Chee Meadow in Douglas on Sunday 5 December (the same venue used for the first round) with racing getting underway at 1pm.
9 November 2021