On Sunday 10 January 2016 the Lincolnshire County Cross Country Championships took place on a sunny but chilly new course in the centre of the Lincolnshire Wolds at Biscathorpe. Many of the older athletes described the course as a true cross country, three river crossings, muddy hills and the whole route undulating. Our vet athlete Paul Parkin described the course as the toughest 10km he could remember running and it was a far cry from the flat parkland course used for the Cambridgeshire Championships.
The muddy hill as the athletes completed the third river crossing had its toll on the athletes as many struggled with it but Cat Foley used this to her benefit in the senior ladies race. She stormed the hill and into the woods to take the lead and never looked back over this tricky part of the course crossing the line as a comfortable county champion. Grace Mullins in one of her first events following injury also finished strongly well clear in third place. Unfortunately there were no other athletes to finish the team out.
Niam Payne was another athlete who found the tough conditions to their suiting pulling away from the field on the first lap of the under 17 men's race and continuing to cope with the conditions to also become County Champion. As with Grace, Austin Herbert supported him with a county bronze medal holding on well for his third place. this set the team up for the win with Bradley Allen supported the leaders well. The 'B' team didn't hang around either with Nathaniel Taylor (7th), Nathan Davey (12th) and Will Baker (13th) taking a well deserved silver team medal.
The most dominant performance as a team and showing the strength that Nene Valley have in depth were the under 20 men. The club had entered four athletes and they took all four top places in the race. Jake Richardson skimmed over the wet surface finishing strongly among the leading athletes in the race to win his county championship. This race is run along with the senior men and vet men and although the overall team place could not be verified they would have been close to a silver senior team medal. Jake was followed in by James McRae in silver medal position and Alex Hampson with his bronze medal. the course was tough on middle distance athlete Brad Spurdens but his spirited fight for fourth place confirmed the teams dominance.
Under 15 girl, Hana Ray won a bronze medal again proving the toughness of the youngster. Her team including Paula Naylor (7th) and Ffion Lewis (13th) won silver team medal. Also winning team medals were the under 15 boys team of Nandeli Pelembe (8th), Ethan Ellison (9th) and Codi Leigh Middleton (11th) who were well grouped; and the under 17 ladies team of Megan Ellison (6th) suffering with exam tiredness, Alice Callcut (9th) and Hermoine Wright (10th).
The results for the club were great with 3 County Champions and 5 other medallists. We had two team wins and four second placed teams. Nine athletes have guaranteed places for the inter-counties with a further potential for thirteen others - well done all.