CROSS COUNTRY: Harriers clinch Frostbite title with dominant display

Lloyd Kempson ANL-140703-104515002
Lloyd Kempson ANL-140703-104515002

Nene Valley Harriers were clear winners of the final Frostbite Friendly cross country league match at Hinchingbrooke Park last Sunday as they took the senior team title.

The Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire-based club beat their closest rivals, Hunts AC, by 181 points on the day, and by 95 points to 87 overall to take the title for the second time since joining the popular local running league ten years ago.

Nene Valley’s junior athletes were the seventh-placed team on the day at the Huntingdonshire circuit and fifth overall.

The hosts, Huntingdon-based BRJ, had to alter the route for the five-mile race at short notice due to the usual course being dangerously water-logged.

Nene Valley had three men in the top ten, with Lloyd Kempson, Michael Moore and Mike Chapman working hard to come sixth, seventh and ninth respectively.

Adam Birch, James Vernau and Sean Beard made up the team in 14th, 15th and 21st positions to ensure they set the club up for a strong chance at clinching the title.

However, the teams must be made up of three women as well as six men – and the ladies didn’t disappoint.

First in for the club and taking the top female spot for the fourth time this season was Tracy McCartney in 35th place, earning her the senior runner of the series trophy as a result.

Second lady in for the Harriers was Yolanda Gratton in 93rd position. She recently married marathon-running legend Mike Gratton, who ran 2.09hrs in London in 1983, and is an accomplished endurance runner in her own right.

Closing the winning team in was Louise Blake in 147th place out of 340 finishers.

The Harriers’ first junior to cross the line and fourth female overall was Megan Ellison, who out-ran all of her male club mates.

The first male youngster to finish was Codey Holland in 43rd place, less than a minute behind Ellison.

The overall winner on the day was Cambridge and Coleridge’s cross country supremo, Sullivan Smith.

He was followed in by top steeplechaser David Connell from Hunts AC and Riverside’s Alan Turnbull.