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Race report - WMYACCL at Hatton 15.10.17

November 10, 2017




Opening the 2017 – 2018 club cross country season, 44 athletes from Coventry Godiva Harriers represented their club in the opening fixture of the WMYACCL at Hatton Country World.   After one fixture, the club appear 6th overall in the 20 team league.  Our Hatton cumulative team score of 5395 points is one of the club’s highest in a single fixture.   


Although the WMYACCL is a relative new comer to the UK regional club cross country league scene, being just 42 years old - It is still an excellent example of the club competition pathway which has and continues to play an essential racing experience for all GB runners.  The young athletes’ regional club cross country league is the start of a proven and highly successful pipe-line that feeds athletes through to senior success. As a coaching team we were both pleased to see a number of new comers to the club, experiencing their first traditional cross country course and also can celebrate the achievement of our older athletes, many of whom are entering their seventh consecutive year of club cross country running.



The under 17 women start list of 63 runners were the first to experience the flat and predominately dry course, staged around the working fields of Hatton Country World.  As the farm was in the middle of its pumpkin harvest, there was a late course detour, resulting in runners exploring new sections of the farm.  Underfoot, runners encountered generally fast running conditions, combined with the occasional stretch of rutted ground, reminding runners of the distinctive challenge of club country running which is often missing in local school races, restricted to school playing fields.


Holly Cherry finishing 11th, close supported by Amelia Starling 20th, Alice Hillary 23rd and Amy Wood 32nd resulted in the team finishing 7th – this age group is already shaping up to be a competitive team event and our club squad should be involved in the team mix. 



Six Coventry Godiva Harriers started this race, an impressive statistic.  Miles Clisham finishing 4th submitted his best ever league result.  Following Miles; Tom Keenan 26th, Louis O’Brien 29th, Lucas Bennett 42nd, Patrick Dunckley 43rd and Oliver Sheehan 46th ensured not only a 5th place team finish but with such a large squad, demonstrating every indication that this group can challenge for a podium placing.   



This age group more than any other was probably the most impacted by the impossible fixture congestion that our local young athletes currently face.  For some this was the third race of the week.  A number of club athletes were unable to race but even with a reduced squad, our six athletes (still a significant turnout of locally based club athletes for this age group) demonstrated that when everyone is present, injury free and healthy they are amongst the best in the Midlands.  Striving in the final mile to lead the club team in the club we saw Freya Bennett 12th, Tally Smyj-James closely behind in 13th; supported by Bobbie Clisham 45th, Imogen Beasley 52nd, Evie Ireland 60th, and making a welcome return to cross country racing Rebecca Marlow 81st.  Our team finished 5th on the day and every indication that with a full strength squad our club team could reach the podium.



A young, relatively inexperienced squad of five runners finished 9th team.  Joe Clay in his first winter of club running finished 29th and packing close together we had Christian Roberts 54th, Liam Wood 64th, Archie Shields 78th and Adrian Judge 79th.   Finishing times in this race, where 40+ runners crossed the line within 1 min of each other, not only illustrated the benefits of the recently introduced chip timing system in allocating fairly finishing positions but that with consistent weekly training you can make rapid improvements in your individual standings.



Normally one of the largest and most competitive race our club athletes raced with distinction.  Leading the squad was Eloise Green finishing 24th, followed by Hannah Elliott 30th, Ayesha Bhatti 52nd, Isabella Taplin 54th, Emma Jackson 65th and Destiny Colombo 69th.  All our club runners finished in the top half of the field and our team finished 7th.



On the day, our best team performance finishing an impressive 3rd in a competitive field.  A large group of nine club athletes packed the race field of 100 runners.  Leading in the team we had Jake Minshull in 8th place.  Supporting Jake we had a tightly packed formation of Robert Marlow 23rd, Hayden North 30th, Daniel Paston 32nd, James Edney 39th and Adam Jackson 48th.  Joining this multi-talented squad we had newcomers Harrison Adams 65th, Braydon Thomas 92nd and Saeed Saeed 98th.   



In both the under 11 age groups, the club had relatively small turn outs which normally increases as the Godiva Kids monthly cross country races presents new club athletes who would benefit from this very competitive regional event.


However given the small squad our Godiva Kids were very impressive with Krista Bennett 12th, Imogen Lane 18th and new comers to club cross country Alyshia Sobers 24th and Odunayo Lawal 42nd. 



The club had three runners in this large field of 129 runners.  Suhayb Saeed finished 20th and was supported by Toby Doy 62nd and Fred Dunckley 104th, resulting in this squad currently standing in 15th position in the team rankings




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