The third round of the Law Trust Cross-Country league took place in ideal winter conditions at Crossags Farm on Sunday 6th December. The long-time home of Northern AC cross-country events on the fringes of Ramsey was blessed with fine though cold weather, and the course was rather less muddy than would normally be expected in December.
The Crossags course includes one of longest and toughest hills to be found on a cross-country course anywhere, and the stamina of all competitors from the under-13 age group upwards was tested to the maximum.
Ollie Lockley made his first cross-country appearance of the winter, and soon showed his ability to transfer his outstanding road form to the country. He initially ran in a leading pack of four in the men’s race which included the winner of the opening two rounds Alan Corlett, Will Draper and junior Ieuan Owen whose race was a lap shorter than the seniors.
By the top of the second brutal ascent through the wooded section, the new Isle of Man Marathon record holder had eased clear of his pursuers, and he continued to pull smoothly away. Looking in complete control of his race he stretched his lead to a comfortable 44 seconds at the completion of his four laps.
Alan Corlett, an acknowledged cross-country exponent, ran as well as ever to take second place, as did Will Draper who finished a further 55 seconds in arrears. A typically solid run from Orran Smith gave him fourth place ahead of another very consistent performer Mark Burman. Andy Nash narrowly held off a chasing pack to take sixth.
A late reduction of the junior men’s race from four laps to three caught out Corrin Leeming who ran four laps with only the leading three seniors in front him. He was not all that far behind race winner Ieuan Owen after the scheduled three laps.
The women’s field was somewhat depleted with the absence of several leading athletes, but that takes nothing away from race winner Ashleigh Lachenicht. A 400 and 800 metres specialist who also has a 12.3-second 100 metres time to her credit, she proved again what a remarkably versatile runner she is with a convincing victory over three tough laps.
Laura Dickinson goes well in any cross-country conditions and she was rewarded with an excellent second place. There was a great battle for third, Caroline Caren showing her fell-running strength on the hills to just edge out Lisa Dunwell. Carol Brogan and Niamh Goddard ran very well to complete the top six.
Race-walking stars Keira Heavey and Mia Dunwell were the winners of the junior and U17 women’s races, their general fitness helping them round the testing terrain.
There was a cracking contest between Ryan Corrin and Charlie Swales in the u17 men’s race, with the latter pushing Ryan hard all the way. A slight navigational error by Charlie lost him a few seconds near the end and Ryan’s final victory margin was 12 seconds. A great race.
Perhaps the race of the day was the u15 boys, with just four seconds between the first three who were all members of the host club. Lucas Stennett was the winner by one second from Sam Perry, and Charlie Teare was just three seconds back. Things were more comfortable for Macy Hillier in the girls’ race, and she looked in top form throughout as she won by almost two minutes.
Charlie Arculus is proving to be a very promising athlete and he completed a hat-trick of victories in the u13 age group. This was the youngest age group to negotiate the infamous hill. His margin over George Salter was 13 seconds, the latter having to work hard to hold off Freddie Griffin and Oliver Condon. The girls’ race was an exciting contest at the front all the way, and was won by Holly Salter from Abi Clayton in a reversal of their results from last time. The gap was just three seconds.
The short course races ran alongside the u13s, and these were won by Peter Bradley and Dawn Atherton.
Harry Stennett and Abi Sinclair continued their domination of the u11 age group this season, these races taking place over three laps of the bottom field. Harry’s margin was 12 seconds from Timothy Perry with Liam Blake third. Abi had to fight off a really determined challenge from Hope Lewis but regained her lead to win by four seconds with Ella Quirk third.
The under-nines had to contend with the Crossags pheasant during their races which did its best to get in their way. It couldn’t stop Seamus Hall and Eve Martin winning their races over two laps of the bottom field, each completing three wins out of three. In the boys’ race Corrie Brogan was third after finishing 17th and 14th in the first two rounds – a remarkable improvement.
- Many thanks go to all the officials from both Northern AC and IOM Athletics who worked hard to ensure a successful meeting. Thanks also for the use of the facilities and land at Crossags.
- Round 4 incorporates the IOM Championships and will be held at Port-e-Chee in Douglas on Sunday 17 January with racing getting underway at 1pm.
- Video footage of the action is on the manxathletics.com Facebook page.
Full results here
8 December 2020