Athletes from Nene Valley Harriers produced some sizzling performances at sunny Derby during the opening North Midlands Cross Country League meeting, writes Barry Warne.
The under-13 girls got the new season off to a flying start on an unseasonably warm day, seeing off some quality opposition to finish top of the pile.
Lottie Hemmings led the fledgling Harriers home, finishing the 3km race in fifth position with a time of 10.49mins. Chelsea Bole placed seventh and Amelia Devine was just behind in ninth, as
Nene Valley pipped hosts Derby AC to the top honours.
Nene Valley’s under-17 girls also had a good day, finishing runners-up behind Nottingham based outfit Rushcliffe AC.
Ella Robinson finished fourth, and received good support from 14th-placed Elisha Foord and Hannah Knight in 19th position.
The under-17 girls placed fifth with Ellie Piccaver and Amber Park running strongly for ninth and tenth positions.
Ruth Jones led the senior ladies challenge, claiming 13th place in a field of 186.
There were also strong runs from Emma Randle and Sophie Wilkinson-Hargate’s, with the Harriers team finishing tenth.
Peterborough AC’s Sarah Caskey came in just behind Jones in 15th.
In the girls’ under-17 race Nora Brill (ninth) and 16th-placed Evie Hemmings helped Nene Valley to finish sixth.
The men were not to outdone, and the under-13s and under-17s both finished third. Jacob Bush was 11th for the under-13s, while Alex Roberts and Freddie House both made the top 20.
The highly-promising Aaron Hunt came home as seventh under-17, ahead of Matt Dowling and Archie Rainbow who placed 16th and 21st respectively.
Felix Bowling was the first under-11 Harrier across the line in 19th, as his team came seventh. The under-15 boys took fifth place, with Owen Wilkinson in 11th.
Meanwhile, Nene Valley’s senior men were eclipsed by a strong Peterborough AC team.
Ben Heron, who is relatively new to cross country, took 12th position, covering the hilly 10k course in 34.03mins. Heron received sterling support from Shaun Walton (35th), Nick Stone (41st), Simon Fell (53rd) and Kirk Brawn in 58th.
Peterborough AC finished an excellent fourth, well ahead of Nene Valley who were 16th.
Sean Beard, who is now 51, provided one of the day’s highlights as he rolled back the years finishing 37th and first over-50 in a field of 283.