THE final meeting in the Midland Women’s Cross Country League brought a tense air of anticipation – lying second in the Masters competition, Stratford upon Avon AC were just ten points behind Telford AC.
On her first outing for the senior cross country team, Eloise du Luart (20th, 25.16) had a magnificent run - pacing her race beautifully throughout she ran a strong second half to lead the team home.
She was chased in by Dani Rasgauski (27th,25.47) who has had a wonderful cross country season.
Dawn Compton (47th, 27.16) has been one of the key members of the 2012 masters team and this meeting was no exception,
Sarah Wheeler (55th, 27.38,) in her debut cross country season and just about her debut running season, showed her continually improving form and put in a fantastic performance.
Emma Bexson (70th, 28.41) was the third Master home and, in her inimitable way, produced one of the most determined runs of the day. Two Telford runners dogged Emma from start to finish and she dug deep into her reserves and left them behind in the last half of the run.
Emily Adams (125th ,33.42), having beaten injury to just make it into her spikes for the last match, ran a sound race given her current lack of fitness.
Making their debut in the ladies cross country team, both Kate Sergent (145th,36.17) and Anne-Marie Blackmore (149th, 37.40) did a great job.
Completing the team was a worse for wear Kate Barrett (155th, 39.06) having had a rather good night the night before, but still smiling as ever!
The team result on the day was a creditable 7th putting Stratford in a final position of 5th overall in the Midlands, a truly outstanding result given the size of the club.
In the Masters competition, another 2nd place meant they held onto 2nd place overall in the league and actually took home some medals.
The valiant efforts of both Sarah and Emma turned out to be in vain as Telford produced the goods on the day and safely won the competition.
Kate Wright, who did not run on the day in question, was third overall Master individually in the league.
Meanwhile, a small but hardy group of Stratford AC members headed to Gloucester for the Dursley Dozen.
This long established race is one of the toughest off-road races in the calendar and indeed the start line is on a 1 in 8 hill.
Rising to the challenge in spectacular fashion Rob Minton (4th, 1.24.23) produced an outstanding run a massive five minutes faster than last year on a course a quarter of a mile longer, and after running in a cross country race the day before.
In a similar fashion, Kate Wright produced a great run at one of her favourite venues to finish 2nd in the ladies race in 1.35.07.
In her first competition since beating off plantar fasciitis, Sarah Bland surprised herself to manage 8th place (1.43.53), loving every minute of being back in action and looking forward to gaining fitness again. She was closely followed home by Cat Clifford, (11th 1.46.19) who is in hard training for the Boston marathon and running very strongly.
A back-in-form Pete Hill also enjoyed a good race (229th, 1.57.16). This off road specialist had not run this far for many months, but in his steely way took it all in his stride, as did Tim Owrid (237th, 1.58.12).
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