Here's Barry's report from the fifth Frostbite League race at Bourne Woods.
An outstanding run by Cat Foley, backed up with excellent support from her team mates, helped Nene Valley Harriers soar back to the top of the standings, after a well deserved Frostbite League victory in the picturesque surroundings of Bourne Woods.
Although Nene Valley do not host a meeting in the 6 event series, this fixture is as good as a home race. Bourne Woods is a popular training ground for many of the club's athletes, so it was no surprise that they were able to take the muddy terrain and steep hills in their stride.
Cross country specialist Foley ran a remarkable race, completing the 5.09 mile course in 31:49, and finishing in 12th position overall. This is thought to be the highest finish by a lady in the history of a league that dates back to 1988. Stamford based Foley has been coached by top local trainer Russ Prosser for many years, and credits him for much of her success. She is in the form of her life having claimed the silver medal in the North Midlands Cross country league just 3 weeks ago.
Team work is the key to success in the Frostbite League, and the Nene Valley ladies did not disappoint, with regular race winner Tracy McCartney finishing 3rd, closely followed by Grace Mullins in 4th place. Claire Steels representing host club Bourne finished 2nd.
PACTRAC triathlete Paul Vernon ran impressively to contine his dominance of the series,making it 5 wins out 5 in a time of 28:21. The RAF Sargent enjoyed a winning margin of over 90 seconds from Yaxley’s James Mogridge in 2nd place.
Nene Valley featured amongst the frontrunners, with the ever reliable John Pike coming home in 3rd place in a time of 30:03. Pike was well supported by Jevan Robertson in 14th position and James McDonald who placed 21st.
Bradley Spurden and Lee Harthill finished 30th and 31st respectively, and the scoring team was completed by youngsters Jack Weddup and Ben Harding.
The Harrier’s were no less successful in the junior race achieving another team victory. The girls featured strongly again with Megan Ellison 1st home and 9th over all in a time of 11:02. Amber Parks, who was the 4th girl to finish, ran a solid race coming home in 21st position. Nathan Davey led club’s challenge completing the course in 10:43 and finishing in a highly creditable 9th position. Ben Mccann and Codi Leigh Middleton provided invaluable support, finishing 15th and 21st respectively.
The honours in the junior race were claimed by Joey Croft of Hunts AC, who won in a time of 10:03.The 2nd and 3rd placed athletes, Luke Fenner of March AC and William Forster of Riverside Runners were just 12 seconds behind, with Fenner coming through in a closely contested battle to the line.
It's all to race for in the final meeting of the season at Huntingdon on 1 March. In the junior league Nene Valley trail Riverside Runners by 3 points, and may have to settle for a highly creditable 2nd place in the final standings.The seniors hold a slender 1 point advantage over Huntingdon AC, and will be looking to field a strong team in the final fixture, as they will need to win the race to ensure they retain their title.