ECCA National Cross Country Championships, Donington Park, Leicestershire

Donington Park, Leicestershire, Saturday 27th February 2016

Donington Park, Castle Donington, hosted a different type of racing on Saturday. More accustomed to motor racing, the park hosted this year’s Saucony English National Cross Country Championships.

It is now 22 years since the men and women’s events combined to stage a joint championship and 4821 finishers were recorded across the 10 events for what is probably a new record total. The huge field that lined up for the senior men’s race was spectacular to see, with 1730 taking part. With the large number of spectators the event must have looked quite impressive from the skies for those taking off and landing at the nearby East Midlands Airport.

A small but hardy contingent from Holmfirth Harriers made the journey down the M1 and were rewarded with a tough day’s racing. The undulating course was relatively dry, but any mud was very heavy and sticky.

The highlights from the juniors was in the Under 17 Girls race – the first of the day - where Olivia Sykes continued her good form to come home in 31st place out of 238 runners. Olivia was backed up by the Byram sisters; Erica in 71st place and Lucy in 81st. With Ellie Sunman making up the all important final team place in 228th, the girls finished in 11th place.

Lydia Throssel 240

Lydia Throssel

The U13 girl’s race included 5 Holmfirth representatives. This was one of largest of the junior races with 450 partipants all the Holmfirth girls were competing for the first time in the National. Freya Adams was the first Holmfirth runner back in 154th, Elena Inch next back in 292nd, Molly Scaramuzza just behind in 327th Lucy Lindley bravely completing the race with a twisted ankle 384th and Lydia Throssel completing the Holmfirth contingent in 416th.

In the Under 13 Boys race the club had 2 representatives. Kristian Green, in his first National and young for the age group, enjoyed the experience finishing comfortably within the top half of the field in 182nd Sam Crawshaw also in his first National just 30seconds back in 257th. Seth Waterman and Harry Shelbourne were the Holmfirth representatives in the U17 men’s race, putting in strong performances in 45th and 114th.

seth Waterman 240

Seth Waterman

The Under 20 men, who had won the Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships in Blackburn 3 weeks previously, were unfortunately a man-down due to illness. With that and a couple of retirements on the tough course they were unable to complete a team. However those that did finish the course had excellent runs; Lewis Byram in 24th, Chris Law in 49th and Kai Sunman in 86th.

In the U20 women’s race Lucy Farquhar finished strongly in 56th with Ruby Sykes 95th.

Holmfirth’s Senior Women had just enough athletes to complete a team, finishing 18th out of 84 teams. Katie Walshaw was first home for the club in a pleasing 36th, with Helen Berry rather more disappointed with her 75th. Helena Croft in her first cross country since re-joining Holmfirth enjoyed her run in 145th as did Maggie Sykes in 200th.

The Senior Men managed to field a team too, though Holmfirth were missing all their key senior athletes. Clark Hind was first home in 699th. Garreth Humphries had a strong run in 751st. Dan Shaw was next to finish in 827th though he’d dropped around 200 places due to feeling unwell during the

race. They were backed up in the team by Mark Law 921st, Jonny Sykes 1138th and Club Captain John Ewart 1218th. Simon Barrans was 1393rd and Robert Robinson was just behind in 1395th.

A special mention should go to the Sykes family with all 4 members turning out and representing the club.

Pre-2012 news, results & reports are on the old sites: 2009 to 2011, Pre-2009

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