Cross-country mudbath holds no fears for brilliant Blair

Three Matlock runners, Matilda Maciejewski-Spencer, Isabelle Lester and Sophie Hopkinson, enjoying the mud after the race.
Three Matlock runners, Matilda Maciejewski-Spencer, Isabelle Lester and Sophie Hopkinson, enjoying the mud after the race.
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Splashing in the mud was the order of the day when a huge turnout of runners contested Matlock Athletics Club’s annual cross-country race.

The runners descended on the rain-sodden fields behind the Three Stags Heads pub in Darley Bridge and, with the sun shining, the event proved to be very successful.

The senior race, which was tackled by 20 athletes taking on three laps, was led from start to finish by the ever-improving Mike Blair, who made short work of the heavy underfoot conditions to clock a time of 26.47 minutes.

Blair was closely followed in by the club captain, Colin Davenport (27.23), and then by Karl Webster (30.57), who took third spot after a close battle with Charlie Whittaker (30.58) and John Thorpe (30.59).

The leading lady was Elspeth Grant (28.41), who was fresh from her recent fifth place at the national championships. Hayley Gill (36.02) and Nicky Dick (39.22) filled the remaining podium places.

The juniors also enjoyed their race and, at the after-event presentation party, held at the Whitworth Thread, with food and music, prizes were awarded by club chairman Craig Allen to the winners of the various categories. These included Alex Currie (11.37), Freya Lester (12.42), Oscar Atkinson (12.59), Sophie Hopkinson (13.49), Joe Currie (18.19) and Lizzie Webster (21.22).

The race was the last in the club’s junior grand prix series, which ended with the top U12s being Eddie Unsworth and Freya Lester and the top U16s being Joe Currie and Michaela Dick.

Meanwhile Matlock runners acquitted themselves well in the monthly No Walk In The Park 5k at Queen’s Park in Chesterfield, with Scott Thompson the first male veteran over 45 to finish in 19.08 minutes. He was ninth overall, just ahead of Ian Watson in 19.13 and Sam Thompson, who was second junior male, in 19.14. Peter Wilmot ran with son James and finished three seconds behind him in 28.42, while Megan Thompson tackled the 1500m fun run and came home third in 6.45 minutes.

On the same day, Matlock’s Mick Moorhouse finished fifth in the over-65 age group at the Yorkshire Veterans Cross-Country Championships, held at the Northern Racing College in Rossington, Doncaster.

And on the following day, Jan Forrester was the first lady veteran aged 60-to-69 to finish in a duathlon at Oulton Park motor racing cicruit in Cheshire. The race was a world championship qualifier, and her time was two hours, 32.36 minutes.

Peter Wilmot also took part in the Great Northern Half-Marathon at Derby, but was plagued by bitterly cold weather.