Tamworth ACs senior Men and Woman were in cross country action last W/E competing in their final races of the Birmingham & District Cross Country League Div#2 and Midland Woman’s Cross Country League campaigns resp.
The men’s event was once again held at Crypt school, Blackridge, Gloucester. Placed in 7th overall after the first three races TACs Men were looking for their best finish in 10 years going into the final race despite the team being depleted of some key runners due to injury and holidays.
The race was ran over a flat albeit complicated 5 laps, 10 Km course comprising 2 short and 3 long laps.
With Jason George absent from the TAC team due to a niggling calf injury, Howard Bush took on the mantle of team leader and did not disappoint, running a well-judged race to finish in a season best 32nd place, “after a fast and furious start, the race settled down and I managed to hang onto to my position” commented the very please Bush. Ben Evans continues his improvement over the country, again running a very well judged pace to finish in an impressive 49th place, “I am very happy with that effort, I’ve been determined to improve all season, I just hope I have not over done it for my Half Marathon at Wrexham tomorrow”. In only his 2nd XC race for TAC, Martin Bell had a very good race, improving on his previous race by 10 places to finish in 89th place and 3rd counter for TAC. 4th team counter and making his season’s debut over cross country was Dale Langley who ran very well racing neck & neck throughout with Dave Williams who is thankfully back training and racing after post-Christmas illness has side-lined his training. At the finish youth outweighed experience with Langley just edging it in the sprint for the finish line to finish 103rd to Williams 104th. Completing the counting six for the team result was talented 400m/800m junior athlete Tom Ainsworth, using the race as part of his endurance training schedule Tom endured a tough race to finish in 130thplace. Completing the TAC finishers was Derek Bolton who also had a season’s best result to finish in 177th place.
The team race was very closely fought on the day with Royal Sutton Coldfield taking the win with 101pts from Cannock & Staffs 147pts and Knowle & Dorridge 148pts with Tamworth AC a respectable 13th with 507pts. Overall league honours and Div#2 champions went to Cannock & Stafford 688pts from Royal Sutton Coldfield 717pts and Knowle & Dorridge 725pts who finished level on points with Leamington but achieved the 3rd promotion spot based on results count-back. Tamworth AC men dropped one place in the overall standings to finish in a very impressive 8th place and in doing so equalling their previous best from the 2013/2014 season. Black Pear Joggers, Newcastle (Staffs) AC & West Bromwich Harriers were all relegated to Div#3 for next season.
In the individual championship based on a ‘best out of 3’ results, Chris Perrin, Cannock & Staffs & Shaun Evans, Royal Sutton Coldfield tied the championship on 4pts, Tamworth’s Jason George despite missing the final race finished 15th with 50pts, the best TAC athlete performance for many seasons. Howard Bush finished 35th 114pts and Bikram Singh 54th 179pts. In the Junior race Bikram Singh took 9th place and Tom Ainsworth 11th.
Tamworth AC women were in action at Aldersley stadium Wolverhampton, ran over an undulating and challenging 2 lap, 6 km course.
All Tamworth ladies had very good performances in the difficult underfoot and cold conditions, Kate Molloy was again first counter for Tamworth, running a determined and strong race to finish in 108th place. Next home was Katherine Bradley in 151st place, Lisa Stretton was 3rd counter in 189th place followed closely by Laura Lewis in 194th, Caroline West completed the team result in 226th place. The race was won by Eleanor Fowler of Nuneaton Harriers from Bryony Haines of Birchfield Harriers.
In the overall team result, Rugby & Northants won with 764pts from Kenilworth Runners 967pts. In only their first season Tamworth woman finish a very creditable 11th place with 2705pts.