Jubilant Matlock AC race to two cross-country county titles

Andrea Atkinson helping the club's veteran women's team to success.
Andrea Atkinson helping the club's veteran women's team to success.

Two titles were won by jubilant Matlock Athletics Club in a successful foray at the combined Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Cross-Country County Championships.

Pride of place went to Elsbeth Grant, who produced an outstanding run to lift the U15 girls’ crown. But she had to share the limelight with the club’s veteran women’s team of Andrea Atkinson, Christine Howard, Nicky Dick and Alison Pye, who took their title too, building on the recent fine form shown by Matlock Ladies in the Booth’s Decorators League.

The championships, which were held at Wollaton Park, near Nottingham, attracted increased entries in all age categories, which led to some very stiff competition for the Matlock runners.

That didn’t faze Grant, though, and with help from Lizzie Webster and Michaela Dick, she also helped the U15 girls’ squad into second place in the team championship behind Derby AC.

The future certainly looks bright for the club’s girls because they also fielded a full team (Matilda Maciejewski-Spencer, Lucy Kuszynski and Isabelle Lester) in the U13s’ age group, while Olivia Allen and Freya Lester secured superb second and third places respectively in the U11s’ race.

The boys were well represented too, most notably the U11s’ team of Alex Currie, Oscar Atkinson and Matthew Foreman, who claimed second in the team competition, again just behind Derby AC.

Bertie West produced a hard-fought performance for 13th in the U17s’ race, while Eddie Unsworth and James Briggs put in solid stints in the U13s’ category and Sam Thompson and Charlie Unsworth did well against tough opposition for the U15s.

In the senior women’s race, the first Matlock runner home was Christine Howard in eighth, with the best display in the senior men’s race coming from Mick Moorhouse, who was third over-60 veteran home despite suffering a recurrence of an old injury the previous day.

Newcomer Mike Blair chased home Andrew Sheldon as the pair finished 24th and 25th, and Colin Davenport, Scott Thompson, Simon Croft, Craig Allen and Bob Foreman also flew the club flag with distinction. As a team, the veteran men finished fifth.

Meanwhile several Matlock athletes competed in the latest batch of 5K parkruns, with Hayley Gill first lady home and tenth overall at Queen’s Park in Chesterfield. She clocked 21.10 minutes, ahead of teammates Paul Harvey and Tessa Jackson.

Jan Forrester was the first lady veteran over-60 to finish at Derby, beating the course record for her age category by more than a minute. And at Sheffield Hallam, Richard Bradbury finished 19th in what was his 98th parkrun.