Some welcome sunshine and well-drained ground made a nice change for Derbyshire’s country cross country championships, held jointly with Nottinghamshire.
With Wollaton Park providing the challenge of tough climbs and long straights, Matlock AC’s somewhat depleted team made an honourable showing over all the age groups from the primary school ages to the bus pass holders.
The first race of the day was the U11 girls’ event over 1,500m. Matlock’s pair of Michaela Dick and Elizabeth Webster battled it out to finish 3rd and 4th and, shortly afterwards, in the boys’ race William Needham had his first taste of county competition taking 11th.
In the ladies’ 8km race it was Christine Howard in 11th place leading the team home followed by Nicky Dick in 14th, with Nicky also taking the over 50 title. Backed up in 24th place by Jan Forrester, who took the over 60 title, and Julie Goodwin in 30th earned the team the silver medals. Also in fine form and taking 5th place was Matlock’s Jenny Reed who was representing her first claim club Nottingham AC. The team performance of the day came from the U13 boys. John Webster and Joe Hallas worked hard in the leading group throughout and at the line it was John who took 2nd and Joe who came home 5th. With Sam Allen in 12th place the trio won the team title by a six-point margin.
John and Joe also earned themselves places in the Derbyshire team for the forthcoming inter-counties championship to be held in March in Birmingham.
In the men’s 10km race was Simon Croft in the over 50 category who was Matlock’s leading runner in 37th place and 5th in his age group.
Close behind in 40th it was the ever-improving Andy Lessiter enjoying his first county championship and John Birch in 45th. John Hurley in 52nd and Rob Allen in 61st completed the line-up.
Later in the afternoon the U13 girls were racing over 3km. Hope Hanby, having struggled with injury of late, finished a commendable 8th and Emily Croft, not far behind in 14th, rounded off the day for Matlock.
The next morning it was back on with the (hopefully washed) club vests and up to Alderwasley for the Peat Pits fell races. This tough event in Shining Cliff Woods is well established in the local calendar and attracted a field of nearly 200 in the various races.
Elizabeth Webster won the slightly longer U10s race while John Webster won U14s event.
The main race, over 8km, was won by Jon Hargreaves in a sprint finish with Edward James from Belper.