Race Date: Sunday 20th November 2022
Race Report by Robert Cook
The SYCAA XC series rolled onto round three at Penistone on the 20th November. Personally this is my favourite course of the SYCAA series (although Graves Park runs it tight) with a lovely course taking in short hills, mud, grass, a bit of gravel and some technical turns where line choice and technique can make a real difference. Conditions were great, slightly chilly and overcast with a wickedly cold wind blowing across the showground!
Maybe I’m a bit weird but cross country is my favourite running discipline, shorn of times and splits you just focus on getting the most out of yourself and competing against the people you are running with. That’s all well and good when you are feeling good but when you’re just surviving its not much fun watching the stream of people coming past and being unable to do anything about it! All through this cross country series I have been searching for some fitness and form and finally found it at Penistone.
Myself and Ben Jones had a good battle throughout the race, with me starting off the fastest, Ben passing me around the second lap, Louis Wood coming steaming past us both as I tried to hang in there and then me passing Ben again for good on the penultimate lap. On the final lap I was in with a good group of runners and it was fun to be trying to strategise how to beat them. Myself and a HRRC runner were swapping positions a lot, and he seemed to be faster up the hills so I knew I had to be ahead of him at the bottom of the course going into the final climb. A cheeky move up the inside and then it was a case of pushing hard up the hill and through the mud on the far end of the course and then giving it everything on the long downhill into the finish line. One Totley runner passed me on the final hill, carrying far more speed than anyone else around us but apart from that I held off everyone else in the group-result! I also managed not to throw up at the finish which I was certain of going down the finish straight-another result!
Louis Wood was again the first strider across the line in the men’s race in 39th, continuing his good run of form this year over the country. I was the second strider in 43rd followed by Ben Jones in 50th and the scoring team of 6 was finished off by Chris Lawson and Richard Carter together in 58th and 59th, and Alex Shepherd in 68th. Also putting in great runs around the course were Sergei Shkul (72nd), Terry Byrne (77th), Ian Stinson (79th), Paul Remmer (83rd), Paddy Treehowes (86th) Keith Bell (104th) and Tom Cossham (113rd). The men’s race had 127 finishers and was won by Daniel Haworth of Matlock AC (as a guest).
The women’s races this year have been a source of a lot of success for Striders with Caroline Brock and Abbie Pearse winning the first two rounds. It wasn’t quite to be 3 from 3 as Frederica Richards from Worksop just managed to hold Abbie off by 4 seconds at the finish, but Striders still had a 2-3 finish with Caroline Brock coming home 3rd overall (1st FV35). The scoring team of 4 was completed by Hannah Mainprize (9th) and Sarah Thorne (14th). Gillian Allen finished next in 21st, then Fiona Jeffries in 23rd (1st FV45). Then rounding out the Striders’ finishers was Claire Grisdale (30th), Laura Mella (31st), Claire Wren (37th), Caroline Greenough (48th) and Karen Clark (69th). The women’s race had 96 finishers in total.
Overall the team league standings are pretty finely poised going into the last round. Hallamshire Harriers are leading the way and will be tough to overhaul but there are just 4 points separating Striders in 4th with HRRC in 2nd, and Sheffield Running Club inbetween. The women’s team has been the strongest in the league so far and that’s reflected in the individual standings where Abbie Pearse, Caroline Brock, Fiona Jeffries and Kate Scott all go into the final round in the medal positions in their respective age categories.
Under-20, Senior and Veteran Ladies
Men’s Race Under-20, Senior and Veteran Men U-65
Full results are available on the SYCAA website.