Nene Valley Harriers are flying high, after retaining the Frostbite League title following a closely fought battle with arch rivals Hunts AC. Here's Barry's report.
The 6th and final round of the 16 club series was hosted by BRJ Running Club at a muddy Hinchinbrooke Country Park on Sunday. With the Harriers holding a slender advantage over Hunts it was all to race for.
Triathlete Paul Vernon, representing the PACTRAC club maintained his dominance of the series making it an unprecedented 6 wins out of 6. Vernon achieved his victory in style, leading from the gun and completing the 5 mile course in a time of 27:08. Nene Valley's Lloyd Kempson followed him home in 28:05, whilst 3rd place went to Werrington Jogger Anthony Johnson who finished 9 seconds behind Kempson.
With several key women missing missing it was essential that the men put in a good showing, which they did in some style. The rapidly improving Rhys Goddard finished 5th in a time of 28:31, with budding young triathlete Nathan Tweedy also securing a top ten placing. Nene Valley's remaining point scorers packed superbly with Jevan Robertson finishing 17th just ahead of 18th placed Mikey Chapman. Justin Hargate and Sean Beard followed them home in 19th and 20th positions.
With scoring teams in the Frostbite League made up of the first 7 male and first 3 female athletes across the line, the Nene Valley ladies had an important part to play. They responded superbly, with Laura Grimer, Sophie Hargate-Wilkinson and Louise Blake all finishing amongst the top 16 ladies, in a race won by Yaxley's Caroline Woods, with sam Cullen of Eye community runners a close 2nd. It proved to be enough to give The Harriers victory on the day, and victory in the series. Hunts AC were a close second at Hinchinbrooke and were also runners up for the series. Although both clubs have been neck and neck all season, it was the strength in depth of Nene Valley that won the day, especially amongst the ladies.
The clubs runners of the series were Mikey Chapman and Melanie Tindale.
The junior race of 2.5 kilometres, which boasted a record field of 216 young athletes was won by Cameron Everist of Bourne AC in a time of 9:19. Joey Croft of Hunts AC followed him home just 9 seconds later with March AC's Luke Fenner in third place. The first girl to cross the line was Amy Chalmers of Hunts AC who finished 21st overall.
Nene Valley's youngsters finished 3nd on the day behind PACTRAC and Hunts AC,and were runners up in the series to Riverside Runners of St Neots. The 1st Harrier home was 8th placed Nathan Davey who was followed closely by Harry Birchnall in 10th position. Matt Church, the grandson of Nene Valley founder member Ray Church, finished 20th with Barry Mace the last scoring male in 27th position. Amber Park completed the scoring team coming home in 32nd position.
Well done to all who took part!