Shropshire Cross Country Championships.
Claire Martin strode to a comfortable two minute victory to win her 10th senior cross country title at Lilleshall on Saturday, including victories for the last 5 years. She won her first title on the Phoenix Sports Centre course at Dawley in 2001, previously having won three silver medals and two bronze medals stretching back to 1995 as a senior. This is a record that stands alone in Shropshire cross country history as no other athlete has won more senior titles, with records dating back to 1970 available, other notable athletes in the senior ranks include Amanda Wright Smith with eight victories and Mark Flint five. Claire who is planning her marathon debut this year, won the race in 25.16 with Telford AC team mate Michelle Clarke second in 27.43, her first ever silver medal with Sarah Mackness also Telford AC taking third in 27.54. Welsh International fell runner Anna Bartlett from Shrewsbury Tri was 4th, with Jess Harvey of Telford Harriers 5th as Nellie Sanders from Telford AC 6th. There was a record number of finishers in the senior womens race as 57 crossing the finish line 30 more than last year, including 19 from Telford Harriers and 11 frtom Wrekin Road Runners. Telford AC retained the team title.
Paul Ward of Telford AC won his fourth senior mens race and the third consecutive one. His winning time was 36.09 for a very muddy 10 kilometre course, but had a clear winning margin of 35 seconds over second placed Olly Laws, the 2007 and 2010 champion, from Much Wenlock but now running for Newham in London. Chris Rimmer from Bishops Castle, but running for Telford, the 2008 champion, was third in 37.05. Jon Bowie, from Trefonen, the Cardington Cracker Fell Race champion in December was 4th, with Telford AC's Shrewsbury Marathon Champion Wayne Dashper 5th and Oswestry's Paul Jones 6th. Telford AC won the team race, which they have won every year except one since 1983.
Ben Ashcroft of Shrewsbury AC won a very competitive under 20 mens race in 39.15, in his first year in the age group after winning the under 17 mens title last year. Macauley Carline from Wrekin Tri who led for much of the way was second in 39.55, just ahead of a fast finishing Ryan Heath, 40.05, who led the Telford AC team to the team title. His team mates Rhys Furlong 4th 40.13, Josh Burrows 5th 40.27 and Russell Adams 6th 40.38.
Telford AC's Ellie Bryan won the under 20 womens race in 26.43 with Wrekin College's Rosie Finnigan second in 27.43 and Bindy Udale 3rd in 28.08 whilst Telford AC's Sarah Tatton was 4th in 28.37.
Alex Burrows from Broseley followed up his under 15 title last year to win the under 17 title this time in 20.08 to lead his Telford AC to the team title. Wrekin Tri Club's Jordan Stamp took the silver medal in 20.27 and Corbet Schools, Fintan Grogan took third in 20.40. Wenlock Olympians Arthur Charlesworth was 4th in 20.49 with Telford AC's Jack Forrester was 5th in 20.56 whilst Ludlow School's Matthew Yapp was 6th in 22.45.
Telford AC's Fian Sweeney won the under 17 girls race after a close race with her team mate and last years winner Izzy Bradley with just 14 seconds separating the two at the finish. Issy Cotham from Bridgnorth took the bronze medal with Maddie Wong, TAC 4th, Robyn Vickers TAC 5th and Bethany Jones from Wrekin Tri completed the top 6.
Stanley Willis from William Brookes School and running for Bedford was an impressive winner of the under 15 boys race to take his first Shropshire cross country title winning in 17.14. Freddie Huxley Fielding and Charlie Tait Harris from Shrewsbury School were 2nd and 3rd whilst Sam McGowan in 4th place led Thomas Telford School to retain their team title from last year.
Bridgnorth's Molly Andrews went home with two gold medals as she won the under 15 girls title and led her team to the team title. She scored an impressive victory finishing 22 seconds ahead of her nearest rival Georgie Benbow from Wrekin College who was also second last year. Helen Staite from Wrekin Tri Club, took the bronze medal with Megan Potts from Shrewsbury AC 4th, Beth Loveday of Bridgnorth 5th and Wenlock's Imogen Fawcett 6th.
Shrewsbury High School's May Davies won the opening race of the day almost 30 seconds ahead of Oswestry's Jazmin Maddocks. Shrewsbury High School packed 5 girls into the top 10 to comfortably retain their team title with Bridgnorth AC second and Wrekin College 3rd. Esme Waters from Stoke was third, Jess Humphries and Issy Boden of Shrewsbury Girls High 4th and 5th whilst Kate Farnell of Thomas Telford was 6th.
Adams Grammar School's Connor Bentley was another very impressive winner to retain his under 13 boys title. He was just under a minute ahead of his nearest rival Kieran Clarke of Bridgnorth. Dan Butler and Fergus Stevens from Shrewsbury AC were 3rd and 4th and led their club to the team title. David Holdroyd from Adams was 5th and helped Adams to the second team prize with Thomas Telford's Jason Harris took 6th.
The Shropshire Schools Cross Country Championships will take place on Saturday 1st February at Oswestry School. Entry forms have ben sent to all Shropshire and Telford schools and colleges.