“Harriers finish a creditable third in the first league race of the season”
Last night’s BDL Race 1, held at the new Denby venue, saw a record turnout of Belper runners secure a very creditable third place behind strong teams from Heanor and North Derbyshire. (We actually finished on equal team points with 2nd placed North Derbyshire, but placed just behind them; being a mere 11 position points adrift).
The men took a well-deserved 3rd place on the night, while our ladies team produced a superb 2nd place finish! Compare these results with those from last year’s below-par first race at Darley Park – where Belper’s men were 4th; the ladies 6th, and the combined team 6th – and it can clearly be seen that we are in the running right from the very start of the season this year.
On the individual front, DALE ANNABLE led the men’s team home in an excellent 7th position, closely followed by GEOFF LOWRY in 11th (and first VM45). Showing their usual consistency, Dale and Geoff continued the pattern established during the cross-country league races, where they were our first two finishers in each race of the series. Although disappointed with his run, BEN HUMPHREYS was our third counter – in 22nd place – bridging the gap between our two leading runners and the remaining team counters. Just 20 seconds separated the closely packed SAUL TAYLOR, ALEX DUTHIE, ANDY PARKIN and MARK RICHES who filled four of the five positions from 29th to 33rd to complete the scoring seven. There were many other excellent performances just outside of the top seven scorers; illustrating the growing strength in depth that we are able to draw upon from within the club. (For instance, Krish Mahadevan was just 2 seconds behind our final counter!).
With injuries and London Marathon preparations impacting the availability of runners on the ladies side, their second place in a closely fought battle with North Derbyshire was all the more remarkable. (Just 6 position points separated the two teams). STEPH ILSLEY in 99th ran well to crack the top 100 in this record field, and finished first in the VL45 category. SHARON MELLORS, just 30 seconds behind in 106th, and GEMMA REDFERN in 146th completed the scoring three. It is worth noting that had one of those three not run last night, the ladies team would have finished only 8th at best (with a resulting knock-on effect on the overall team placing). So, it just goes to demonstrate the impact that a single runner can have!
In the hiatus between the cross-country and summer league series, several new runners have joined the Harriers, a number of who made their team debuts for the club at Denby… Ed James (40th), Jim Naismith (59th), Jack Dakin (78th) – at just 15 years old! – Chris Barker, Craig Allen, Chris Jackson and Sara Russell. Many congratulations to all of them!
Two new records were established in last night’s race: firstly, the highest ever number of runners in a BDL race – 277 (previously 246); and secondly, the highest number of Belper runners in a league race – 36 (previously 33)! This was particularly pleasing when considering the number of potential Belper competitors who were working on the hosting of this race. A total of 54 Belper Harriers (plus three partners) ran and/or worked on last night’s event – a fantastic level of support!
The attached results spreadsheet contains tabs for both individual and team results as usual. In highlighting the Belper runners in the results, I have identified the scoring runners in a different colour for easy reference.
The next BDL race will be at Teversal Grange on Tuesday May 18th. Prizes from the cross-country league competition will be presented in the pub following the race.