A TESTING course awaited Bromsgrove & Redditch Athletic Club runners when they competed at the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships in the superb grounds of Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, on Saturday.
In what is the cup final of cross country, this was a big challenge for all age groups.
The course included a climb up to the stately home and on the other side of the course the stretch of slippery mud was a test in itself.
The event started with the U17 women’s championships on a 5km course and B&R were led home in 100th place by Amy Mijovic-Couldwell.
Ellen Bowen was 109th, Alice Battey 158th, Chelsea Wright 162nd and Ellen Moss 212th.
The U17 men raced on a 6km course and Gareth Richardson was first home for the club in 140th place, followed by Thomas Deykin in 263rd and Alexander Johnson in 272nd.
The U15 girls’ race was held on a 4km course and B&R’s Anna Nicod finished 118th.
There were three B&R boys in action in the same age group and first home on a 4.5km course was Joe Hamilton in 49th, followed by Trenten Roberts who was 298th and Harrison Mayne who came 303rd.
Natalie Hatfield finished 66th in the 3km U13 girls’ race and Esme Ranger 283rd, whilst in the 3km U13 boys’ event Josh Robins was 35th, Joe Cunliffe 95th, Sebastian Purvis 266th and George Godwin 283rd.
Conor Smith was the club’s sole representative in the 10km junior men’s race in which he finished 59th.
It started to rain just as the senior women’s race was about to start on an 8km course, but the elements proved no barrier to Great Britain international Jessica Judd of Chelmsford/Loughborough Students who powered to victory.
Leading the B&R women home was Sally Hogan in 103rd, followed by Tamara Freeman who was 166th and Jane Anderson in 622nd.
The senior men’s race had a distance of 12km and by now the course was well and truly cut up.
The race was won by rising international star Ben Connor of Derby AC who led from start to finish.
The B&R charge was spearheaded by Mark Appleton who finished 540th, followed by Malcolm Duff in 608th, Kevin Lanckham in 895th and Phil Anderson in 1,597th.
B&R’s Katy Barden was in action on Sunday at the Bourton 10k and she did the club proud by finishing 53rd on a fast and flat course.
Her time of 38.50 enabled her to finish fourth placed lady and first in the women’s over 35 category.