It was a case of ladies first when a record turnout of 32 Matlock Athletics Club runners contested the fifth round of the Booths Decorators Cross-Country League at Trent Meadows in Long Eaton.
For Jade Stone crowned a successful series by claiming an unassailable lead in the individual ladies’ championship. And Matlock’s women’s team, which includes Stone, finished an excellent second, behind Ilkeston, to cement a commanding advantage in the team competition. Hopefully, they will secure the title at the final race, which is to be held at Holmebrook Valley Park in Chesterfield next month.
In a strong field of 318 and on a cold and dry morning, which presented ideal running conditions, Stone was the second lady home, covering the two laps in a time of 33.39 minutes.
Matlock’s men also managed to string together some fine performances, placing second behind Ripley. And although they cannot repeat last year’s overall triumph in the team competition, the club do sit fourth in the combined men’s and ladies’ contest.
The race was won by Joe Rainsford, of Heanor Running Club, in 28.43. First home for Matlock was Colin Davenport in fifth in 31.00, followed by Mike Blair, who was 14th in 32.03, and Andy Sheldon, who was 17th in 32.13.
Other times were junior Bertie Best 33.46, Rupert Holden 34.37, Scott Thompson 35.22, Karl Webster 35.37, Craig Allen 35.41, Peter Wilmot 36.59, John Thorpe 37.07, Bob Foreman (third male veteran over-55) 37.47, Ava Holden (first junior girl) 37.51, Andy Mellor 38.04, Hayley Gill (second lady veteran over 40) 38.48, Chris Hallas 38.50, Andy Hodkin 40.29, Anthony Lester 40.31, Alison Pye 41.05, Emma Machin 41.38, Dennis Belbin 41.46, Nicky Dick (second lady veteran over 50) 41.51, Mick Moorhouse (third male veteran over 60) 42.41, Steve Goodall 42.48, Les Thurston (second male veteran over 65) 45.07, Jan Forrester (first lady veteran over 60) 46.09, Jude Goodall 47.03, Mark Jackson 47.08, Karen Morley (second lady veteran over 55) 49.45, Emma Phillips 53.09 and Tessa Jackson (second lady veteran over 60) 54.29. Unfortunately, Jim Thorneycroft did not finish because of injury.
Matlock’s juniors also produced some sterling displays at the weekend in the Derbyshire Schools’ Cross-Country Championships, held at Moorways in Derby, and several will go on to represent the county in the next round.
Those competing included: Matilda Maciejewiski-Spencer, Jess Lindridge, Isabelle Lester, Lily Phillips, Jacob Rifkin, Bertie Elphick, Lizzie Webster, Michaela Dick, Bronwyn Lessiter, Charlie Unsworth, Joe Currie and Elsbeth Grant.
Elsewhere, four Matlock runners tackled a Peak District trail running event called Wildest Peaks at Longshaw Estate. Over the shorter 10.5k route, Ava Holden was seventh overall and second lady, while over the longer route of 26.7k, Rupert Holden was second overall, Simon Croft seventh and first male veteran over 50, and Christine Howard 20th, second lady and first lady veteran aged 40 to 49.
The weather lived up to its name for the Brass Monkey Half-Marathon, now in its 35th year, at York Racecourse. Among more than 1,500 runners was Matlock’s Craig Allen, who finished in one hour, 27.14 minutes.
Finally, Rupert Holden braved atrocious weather, including snow and sleet, plus river crossings, to finish a respectable 30th of 151 in the sixth Trigger Fell Race. In a gruelling event of 20 linear miles and 4,500 feet of climb, Holden was delighted to cross the line in one piece after clocking a time of five hours, two minutes. He thanked all the clubmates who helped him with his preparations