Harriers stay ahead to be the champions

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Kettering Town Harriers trio Josh Coles, Matt Stewart and Liam Kirk travelled to Nottingham for their second race of the day to represent their club in the final North Midlands Cross Country League meeting.

Going into the final fixture, the Harriers were overall leaders ahead of Derby and Coles was leading the individual table from Burton’s Alex Benfield.

After competing for the district in the County Schools Championships at Northampton in the morning, Coles wisely held back in the early stages of the 6km race at Wollaton Park – the venue to be used for the Midland Championships at the end of the month.

However, as the race progressed he moved through to eventually finish an excellent third in 20.12.

But unfortunately, the race at the front between Benfield and Derby’s Terah Hooley, the early leader, went against him.

The final outcome was that Benfield’s victory in 19.36 over Hooley (19.51) meant that the Kettering Harrier had to share the overall title with the Burton runner.

With Stewart (20.00) and Kirk (21.04) also showing great powers of recovery to finish 11th and 12th respectively, Kettering – despite finishing third on the day behind Derby and the winners Notts AC – had done enough to be crowned overall champions in front of the teams that beat them on the day.

Also in the race was Corby AC’s Sam Furey who covered the distance in 22.27 to finish 19th.

Corby’s best position of the day came from Under-13 Boy Isaac Akers who ran the 3km distance in 13.15 to take third place behind the Leicester pair of Alfie Thompson (13.06) and the winner Ben Dijkstra (12.56).

Akers’ effort was good enough to land him the overall runner-up spot behind Derby’s Hugo Milner who remained unbeaten until the final race when he finished fifth in 13.37.

In the Under-11 Boys race over 2km, Corby’s Morgan Potter came fifth in 6.18 to clinch second in the overall standings behind Derby’s Luke Ward who won on the day in 5.50.

In the girls’ race, Alice Freeman (Corby) clocked 7.24 to finish 17th as overall champion Jasmine Cooper of Derby won easily in 5.57.

In the Senior Ladies race over 6km, the Corby ladies veteran team just failed to retain the title when their second place on the day wasn’t quite good enough.

They finished just behind Redhill and the new champions Holme Pierrepont.

Leading them home and securing third place overall in the Veteran-35s was Hayley Veasey who came 28th in 25.05.

She was followed by Maggie Mulholland (39th in 26.09), Catherine Wright (44th in 26.32) and Trudi Pike who came 61st in 28.01.

At the sharp end of the field, Nicki De La Salle of Notts won convincingly in 21.21 from Nene Valley’s Charlotte Taylor (21.44).

Top local finisher in the 10km men’s race was Corby’s Chris Curtis whose time of 36.58 brought him home in 22nd position.

He was closely followed by club colleague Troy Garrity (24th in 37.11) while the third member of the club in action was Neal Humphreys who finished 98th in 43.08.

Also competing was Corby-based Danny Keating (Leicester) who recorded his highest position in the current campaign when coming 29th in 37.36 and Andrew Clawson of Kettering Harriers who clocked 46.04 for 129th position.

Aaron Scott (Notts) remained unbeaten in securing the overall title with a fine front-running performance which saw him finish ahead of Lincoln’s Matt Browser (34.05) and colleague Matt O’Dowd (34.07) to win in 33.46.

Corby’s Ellie May Hathaway returned a time of 13.36 to finish 13th in the Under-13 Girls event in which Charnwood’s Lucy Jones covered the 3km distance in 11.42 for a convincing win.