Nene Valley Harriers athletes left many of their rivals bogged down in the mud at the National Cross Country Championships on Saturday.
The Wollaton Park course in Nottingham was set out to include many swamp-like areas of the deer park – but local cross country experts thrived on the unforgiving terrain.
A highlight was the battle between Nene Valley and Peterborough AC in the senior men’s race.
Peterborough AC have enjoyed the upper-hand on the road in recent months and both clubs were eager to show their supremacy in the country.
The Harriers came out on top, but only just, finishing 36th out of the 131 teams, with Peterborough hot on their heels in 37th.
Lloyd Kempson led the Nene Valley charge, finishing 140th, with a rejuvenated Chris Wright not far behind in 168th.
Ben Heron was the first Peterborough AC athlete across the line, finishing just behind Wright in 172nd.
Steve Robinson was next home for Peterborough in 227th while Nathan Tweedie and Michael Channing, both of Nene Valley, came in 302nd and 350th respectively.
Peterborough’s Danny Snipe crossed the line 408th out of a field of nearly 2,000.
Mike Chapman and Oliver Slater completed the Nene Valley scorers with James Sadlier and Nathan Popple closing out the Peterborough AC team.
James McCrae was the highest placed Harrier in the junior men’s race, finishing 39th.
McCrae, whose short-striding style was well suited to the conditions, received solid support from Alex Hampson, Austin Herbert and Bradley Spurdens as the team came home 12th.
There were some fine performances from the girls with Megan Ellison the pick of the bunch, placing 43rd in the under-17 race, while Josephine Fortune squeezed into the top 100.
Flo Brill’s season has been hampered by illness but she had a fine run at Nottingham with a 51st place finish for the under-15 girls with Lottie Hemmings acquitting herself well.
Amber Park was the first under-13 girl home in 83rd and strong running from Ella Robinson, Olivia Mead and Hana Ray saw the team finish 31st.
Nene Valley’s senior women were led home by Ruth Jones in 248th. Sophie Wilkinson-Hargate was 317th while Laura Grimer placed 372nd. Peterborough’s Sarah Caskey finished 366th.
Bradley Allen completed the course in 119th place in the under-17 race while Sam Oakley fought his way through the field for a pleasing 54th-place finish for the under-13 boys.
The Nene Valley team were 42nd with Sidney O’Connell also running well.
Peterborough AC’s William West-Robbins was 71st.
Matt Dowling was 218th in the under-15 boys race and was the mainstay of the Nene Valley team that finished 34th.