STRATFORD AC hosted the second race of the Birmingham XC Men’s League at Welcombe Hills with Rich Shepherd securing an 11th place finish.
The ever-impressive Shepherd came home in 36minutes 30seconds with Matt Burdus-Cook just behind in 17th (36mins 38secs).
Stratford’s Welcombe Hills course received universal praise as being a ‘true’ cross country course and tested the athletes with a particularly challenging long uphill section at the start of every lap.
The club were able to field a much stronger team than the first fixture with returning athletes and a healthy influx of juniors taking part.
Overall, 27 Stratford AC runners completed the race with Shepherd and Burdus-Cook the first two home.
Ned Campbell was next across the line for Stratford in 38th (38mins 13secs), helped by his local knowledge, and the fifth junior enjoyed an excellent run on his senior debut.
Jamie Hall came home 62nd (39mins 27secs) in his first season as a senior XC runner whilst Alex Pester 74th (40mins 4secs) was another junior making his senior debut and finished just ahead of Ben Jordan 76th (40mins 8secs) to complete the scoring for the A Team.
Leading h the B Team was Drew Sambridge 78th (40mins 20secs) who was closely followed by Josh Dobedoe 83rd (40mins 34secd) who turned in an excellent performance on his senior debut.
Dave Teasdale 102nd (41mins 49secs), Tim Hutchinson 107th (42mins 25secs) and Wayne Vickers 109th (42mins 30secs) could not quite break into the top 100.
Also completing the course were Adrian Mason 126th (43mins 35secs), Phil Reading 128th (43mins 44secs), Allan Cavanagh 131st (44mins 2secs) and David Battersby 137th (44mins 15secs).
Behind them were a group of runners led by John Raby 157th (45mins 39secs), Peter Sugden 158th (45mins 41secs) and Lewis Dickins 159th (45mins 42secs) in a sprint to the finish.
Will Dych 164th (46mins 10secs) just outsprinted Max Ross 165th (46mins 12secs) ahead of a stream of runners led by Nick Cooper 172nd (46mins 31secs), Owen Lewis 176th (46mins 52secs), Ben Phyall 181st (47mins 18secs), Mike Sheppard 184th (47mins 30secs), Paul Longford 185th (47mins 37secs) and Chris Spriggs 189th (47mins 53secs).
Bringing the club home and making a welcome return to fitness after suffering from Covid was Damian Wheeler 202nd 50mins 40secs.
The A Team scored 278pts which places Stratford in seventh and moves the club out of the relegation zone whilst the B Team scored 607pts which leaves them fourth after two races.
Stratford AC’s Team Manager Kieran Tursner said: “All of our runners throughout the field performed superbly and I’m pleased to say, most are keen to race XC in the future fixtures.”