Phillipa ‘Rudisha’ Williams and the Men’s ‘Three-peat’.
What was forecast to be a miserable and wet day in the far north of Yorkshire, turned out to be an afternoon of sunshine and success for the travelling Hallamshire squad. The return to Lightwater Valley provided short laps of twists and turns, the odd sharp incline and an inevitable layer of ankle-deep Yorkshire mud.
With Connor’s short novelisation as to why he wasn’t running fresh in everyone’s mind, the team were primed and ready to make our self-proclaimed ‘supreme leader’ proud.
Philippa Williams blew the rest of the field away, leading from gun to tape, to become 2023 Yorkshire Cross Country Champion in 31:12. Arguably the best front running performance in recent times, with Rudisha’s 2012 Olympic victory a close second.
‘El Capitana’, Charlotte Slack was the next Hallamshire athlete home, in an impressive 13th in 36:27. Charlotte’s rigorous 8 mile weeks really reinforcing the age-old principle of quality over quantity. Laura Robertson had a great start to the championship season, returning home in 29th in 38:06. Completing the Hallamshire quartet, Ellie Crownshaw, had a good run to come home in 69th.
Overall, the Women’s team finished 6th, narrowly behind local rivals Rotherham and Steel City Striders. With a few more to compliment the Yorkshire 4 at upcoming Northern Cross Country Championships, the stage is set for a tasty rematch.
Hannah Metherhall’s return to the promised land of Yorkshire proved succesfull. Hannah made good use of all those hard, solo Ladybower miles, to bag her place in the Yorkshire team for March’s UK Intercounties. Hannah finished in 5th place overall.
The Senior men’s team defended their Yorkshire title to complete a Hattrick of back-to-back Yorkshire XC titles.
On a personal note, I have to say this was my favourite of the three, as it really showed the strength in depth we now have in the club, and the importance of pulling together as a team. The men’s team was hit HARD with this year’s infamous winter lurgy, with 3 of our scoring 6 from last year on the side-lines, alongside other key members of the team. In the end, it was another close affair with Leeds, only 3 places the difference, but serves a great reminder that in these championship races – literally every place counts!
With both spikes still attached to the bottom of my feet (a rarity in recent years), I crossed the line 4th. The standout performance from the Men’ teams came home next in the form of Jed Bartlett. Jed had a perfectly executed run, obviously taking notes from the king of pacing John Birch, to finish 6th in 37:17. This meant Jed not only bagged his first Yorkshire vest, but also a subsequent call up to represent the North of England this weekend in Perth.
Completing the top 10 was another athlete who will inevitably get the call up to represent the motherland, sorry… Yorkshire. Tommy Power showed his quality on the cross, adding to his plethora of track and road quality performances, finishing 10th in 37:41.
Winning his second Yorkshire gold in consecutive years, Jamie Hall had a typically good run to finish 15th in 38:42. The penultimate member in 6-man team was a certain Matthew Fuller. Thankfully, Matt decided not to wear his white Oxford shorts this weekend (good call Matt). The new and improved black shorts Matt cam home in 21st in 39:25.
Just one place behind, Jonny Crickmore had another good run to bag his second Yorkshire title in as many years, finishing 22nd in 39:47. Next home, Sam Kenmore had one of his best runs to date in a Hallamshire vest, coming back in 32nd in 40:30. Not far behind, Christian Battersby continued his good form to finish 37th in 41:00. Toby Antcliff had a promising start to his winter racing season for 43rd in 41:48. Toby’s first Yorkshire XC in the famous red vest. In his native North Yorkshire, our American-Yorkshireman, Wyatt hill had a great run for 63rd in 43:32.
Unlike his beloved Blackburn Rover’s recent trip to Yorkshire this weekend, Luke Townsend had a great performance for 72nd in 44:17. Just behind, on his return to racing after a long injury layoff in 2022, Richard Barker had a promising run for 75th in 44:52.
Our new Chairman, Craig Fishwick, had a good start to his winter championship season and put his pre-Christmas illness issues behind him. Craig finished 91st in 46:40. Craig is also keen gym bunny and put all those winter squat gainz to good use lugging all 20kg+ of our massive tent back to the cars single-handedly.
On a final note, an integral part of the Hallamshire race day team was missing this weekend. This member of the ‘Lewis Clan’ selflessly spends their time and energy at races to support the team. Hopefully see you at the next one Maggie, complete with your excellent photography skills. Oh, and David, see you there too.
Happy training and See you at Northerns,
P.S. if you entered and didn’t run… I will look for you… I will find you… and I will… politely ask you reimburse the club your entry fee, thanks.