Brave souls tackle mud baths and strong winds at National Cross-Country Championship

PUBLISHED: 12:43 28 February 2020

The U15 boys team were the best placed of the St Albans Athletics Club squads at the National Cross-Country Championships in Nottingham.

The U15 boys team were the best placed of the St Albans Athletics Club squads at the National Cross-Country Championships in Nottingham.

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A small band of runners from St Albans and district put their best foot forward in challenging conditions as they competed in the National Cross-Country Championships.

The start of the 2020 Harpenden Half Marathon. Picture: RICHARD UNDERWOODThe start of the 2020 Harpenden Half Marathon. Picture: RICHARD UNDERWOOD

The course at Woolaton Park in Nottingham resembled a ploughed field at best and a bog elsewhere as the wet weather turned the ground to a mud bath.

But the 14 brave souls from St Albans Athletics Club as well as three from St Albans Striders and one Harpenden Arrows still had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

St Albans only had two squads containing enough scoring runners to take part in the team competition but the U15 boys' did themselves proud with an excellent sixth place.

The U13 boys took 15th while the individual honours belonged to Phoebe Gill who came 10th in the U13 girls' race.

Helen Cartlidge in action for St Albans Striders at the Harpenden Half Marathon. Picture: RICHARD UNDERWOODHelen Cartlidge in action for St Albans Striders at the Harpenden Half Marathon. Picture: RICHARD UNDERWOOD

Edward Anders, Colin Braybook and Mike Jack from the Striders tackled the 13km course for the men while Carole Jack completed the 8km women's course.

Most of the main St Albans Striders focus was on the Harpenden Half Marathon.

This was another event that was hampered by the weather, the strong winds and overnight rain meaning the start at Rothamsted was delayed.

When it did get going, over 20 Striders took part with Stephen Hosty finishing second overall in a time of one hour 26 minutes 34 seconds, first in his M40 age category.

Stephen Hosty in action for St Albans Striders at the Harpenden Half Marathon. Picture: RICHARD UNDERWOODStephen Hosty in action for St Albans Striders at the Harpenden Half Marathon. Picture: RICHARD UNDERWOOD

Doug Hobson was just over two minutes back in fifth, one place ahead of Harpenden Arrows' Giles Horridge.

Ruth Martin was the fourth female to finish in a time of 1:43:45 while Karen Sheard (second W40), Nicky Laitner (second W50), Helen Cartlidge (third W40) and Caroline Bailes (fourth W40) also enjoyed top-five finishes within their respective categories.

A trio of Striders also braved strong headwinds to complete the Brighton Half Marathon on the south coast.

Ollie Knight, Gareth Parker and Paul Geary all completed the course, with Knight and Geary recording PBs of 1:21:09 and 1:36:44 respectively in the challenging conditions.

Finally, serial marathon runner Ian Hirth put in a fantastic performance at the Seville Marathon, improving his PB by more than three minutes.


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