New winners of senior titles at a muddy Berry Hill Park in Mansfield on Saturday in the Saucony-sponsored championships
An overcast day with a persistent drizzle did not dampen the spirits in the 10 races which saw first-time wins at a national level for Belgrave Harriers in the senior women’s race and Cambridge & Coleridge in the senior men’s event.
Elsewhere, Aldershot won three of the other age group races as well as picking up silver team medals in the two senior races.
Building work adjacent to the old clubhouse buildings have meant that the course had to be altered and the organisers took the chance to eliminate the need for slightly shorter opening laps in all races.
Cambridge & Coleridge had a steady start before Jonathan Escalante-Phillips advanced them to ninth mid-race and then Jack Gray took them ahead on the penultimate double lap totaling 5km.
Then it was down to Callum Elson to hold on, which he did with a 15:10 split that saw off a final lap challenge by Will Barnicoat whose 14:58 was good for second quickest overall at the final reckoning.
His Aldershot club had an even steadier start and were 16th at the half-distance. A fastest stage time of 15:12 by Ellis Cross took them up to fifth before Barnicoat tried to repair the earlier damage.
Third-placed Highgate also had a steady race but never really challenged for the lead and were there at the end of the third stage before passing City of York and losing a slot to Barnicoat’s Aldershot.
Shaftesbury were also down on the opener before a 15:07 split from Jeremy Dempsey gained 29 places to seventh with a 15:07 effort. They inched closer before their Dylan Evans just missed out on the sprint for third.
Earlier, City of York had been the surprise package of the race after Angus McMillan, the Inter-Counties 11th placer, had ‘won’ the double lap opener with 14:55. He said: “I made a break going into the woods and relays are my favourite.”
York kept ahead through Sam Dickenson and Tim Stratton, before eventually finishing eighth on the final leg.
Dickenson revealed that he acts as ‘domestique’ for Kent AC’s triathlon Olympic gold medallist in major events. He said: “I look after Alex in the swim and on the bike.”
Another flatterer was Gateshead Harriers after Calum Johnson took them to third mid-race with a 15:02 split. It was a similar story for the Milton Keynes Distance Project outfit. Twins George and Charles Wheeler…