Decisions, Decisions: Yorkshire Cross Country Championships 2024, Lightwater Park

Race Date: Saturday 6th January 2024

With coach travel subsidised by the club, we had another successful trip to Lightwater as our ladies, with a couple of our stars off chasing county vests elsewhere, finished eighth with only one other local club fielding a complete women’s team. (Follow the link to GIRL POWER to see what happened in Nottingham). Our men maintained their place in the rankings finishing in ninth position well clear of both Hillsborough and Sheffield RC. The men showed strength in depth with our B team finishing fifteenth. Some excellent individual performances throughout but again we all seek to emulate Abbie Pearse who finished eighth. Yorkshire selection policy is that the first six home in the County Champs go to the Inter-Counties in March. There are three further discretionary places so, unless a couple of Internationals step forward, Abbie has a good chance of getting another Yorkshire vest given that she did a good job last year scoring and helping her team win a bronze medal.

It is reported that the course was similar to last year with some minor modifications to add a couple of small new hills. In general the conditions were much better with only a few patches of the deep sticky mud which had previously covered the entire route. This is surprising given that last December was one of the wettest on record. Five laps for the men, four for the women. Consensus is that the main highlight of the course was a very short but very steep hill which quickly became a slippery mud slope after the earlier races. This year marshals were blocking people from warming up on it, presumably in an attempt to save as much of the traction as possible. Regardless it made for an interesting challenge as you really couldn’t afford to stop on the way up, at risk of sliding back down with skill and judgement required to in choosing the correct line. Most did manage to stay upright.

Sarah Thorne (346) is a study in concentration. (Photo Dave and Eileen Woodhead)

Women (8.3km)

Posn Name Time
8 Abbie Pearse 00:33:30
33 Sarah Thorne 00:37:11
56 Emily Green 00:41:41
65 Claire Wren 00:43:21
74 Kate Scott 00:46:57
78 Karen Clark 00:48:16
85 Carol Beattie 00:52:02

We sadly had one DNF with the two hour coach trip not helping her sciatica. Not a good place to be in but chocolate cake cures all ills.

Link to the full results Yorkshire Cross Country Championships 2024. First home of the 89 women was Alexandra Bell (Pudsey) in 30:56. First man over the line and over a minute clear was Angus McMillan (City of York) in an eye-watering 33:33 with 173 men recorded as having finished. Leeds City AC claimed both team prizes.

Men (10km official, 10.5km Strava)

Posn Name Time
52 Robert Byers 00:40:20
55 Naeem Stevens 00:40:32
68 Seth Kirby 00:41:59
78 Richard Millier 00:42:49
90 Louis Wood 00:43:54
100 Richard Carter 00:45:08
110 Tom Rogers 00:46:03
119 Malcolm Baggaley 00:46:53
137 Sam Needham 00:48:34
139 Connor Brown 00:48:44
145 Robert Atherton 00:49:43
149 Ian Stinson 00:50:28
151 Philip Gregory 00:50:46
158 Michael Cambell 00:52:19

Veteran Categories are not stated as this is a championship event whilst a cut off at sixty minutes meant that any males taking longer than this didn’t get a time.

The ground here looks firm and fast but the splashes of mud on the legs indicates moisture elsewhere. Philip Gregory (185) about to be lapped by the Spenborough athlete. Number 673 is in the U20 race. (Photo Dave and Eileen Woodhead)

The were a few comments afterwards that the coach could have arrived a little earlier as the women had a choice between joining the queue for the toilets or doing a proper warm up – with cross country it’s good practice to warm up on the course to identify potential pinch points and, of course, have a look at that hill. Richard Pegg is aware although matters were hampered with issues in rounding up passengers.

Postscript: Abbie later received an e-mail confirming that she was indeed selected to run for Yorkshire at the Inter-Counties so that’s three club vests in one go.

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