Record entries were received in the senior women’s race and almost 1,200 teams contested the Saucony English Cross Country Relays at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield on Saturday (5 November). There was a brilliant double for Aldershot, Farnham and District in both the men’s and women’s senior title races.
The first national cross country relay took place at Crystal Palace in 1985 but the event found a permanent home at Mansfield in 1989. Superb sight lines around the sweeping, parkland course help to create a great atmosphere as team mates dash from one vantage point to another to spur on their war painted colleagues.
Aldershot brought out the big guns to crush the hopes of a young Tonbridge team – bronze medal winners last year – in the men’s race. Joshua Grace, Harvey Dixon, Andy Vernon and Jonny Hay (1:00:50) were just over a minute ahead of the Tonbridge quartet (1:02:02), with Bristol and West third (1:02:34).
Aldershot improved from third last year to take the women’s three-stage trophy through the combined efforts of Steff Twell, Louise Small and Emily Hosker-Thornhill (29:04). Runners-up were Charnwood (29:48) and Leeds City (30:06). Rio Olympian, Steff Twell ran the fastest time of the day (9:31.6).
There was a full programme of races for all age groups in a slickly organised celebration of grass roots athletics that was sponsored once again by Saucony.
The team winners in the remaining eight categories were:
- Junior Men – Tonbridge AC (26:21)
- Junior Women – University of Birmingham (25:46)
- Under 17 Men – Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers (27:14)
- Under 17 Women – Aldershot, Farnham and District (26:42)
- Under 15 Boys – Aldershot, Farnham and District (19:38)
- Under 15 Girls – Blackheath and Bromley Harriers (21:44)
- Under 13 Boys – Aldershot, Farnham and District (20:58)
- Under 13 Girls – Blackheath and Bromley Harriers (22:11)
Full results at English Cross Country website.
Image courtesy English Cross Country