Cross Country gold for Southport Waterloo as Crook Arrowes to a Mersey win

THE 2013 Merseyside Cross Country Championships returned to Arrowe Park on the Wirral on Saturday and was well-supported by Southport Waterloo runners who were rewarded with a number of county medals.

Overall, they had three team awards: 3rd Under 13 Girls, 2nd Senior Women and 2nd Senior Men – and 8 individual awards – Daniel Lenehan 3rd Under 11 Boy, Emma Alderson 2nd Under 13 Girl, Jack Lenehan 3rd Under 15 Boy, Amanda Crook 1st Senior Woman, Clare Constable 2nd L35, Sue Cooper 2nd L45, Matthew Thompson 1st V40 and David Hamilton 2nd V40.

As important as individual and team medals, places in Merseyside’s team for the Inter Counties competition at Cofton Park in Birmingham in March were at stake.

The first 4 in the junior and senior women’s races and the first six in the senior men’s race were automatically selected with the remaining places to be decided by county selectors based on performances up to the national championships.

Those selected so far are: Emma Alderson, Jack Lenehan, Amanda Crook and Joe Vis.

Outside of the county championships, a developmental race was put on for the Under 11s and several of Southport Waterloo’s younger runners took advantage. Daniel Lenehan took the Under 11 Boys’ 3rd place medal, covering the 1.7 kms in 7 minutes 24 behind two Liverpool Harriers. Even younger runners Sam Coupland and Rhys Davies also ran, finishing in 8:29 and 8:49 respectively.

Surprisingly, there were nearly three times as many Under 11 Girls as boys in this race, mostly young Liverpool Harriers, but with two Southport Waterloo girls. Lilly-Ann Grayson now has quite a number of cross country races under her belt and she finished a good 6th in 7:59 for the 1.8 kms. Niamh Edmunds was 13th, finishing confidently in 8:23.

Hopes were high for a good placing in the Under 13 Girls’ race and Emma Alderson didn’t disappoint.

A strong run brought her home in 2nd place in 11:28 for just under 3kms, a mere 3 seconds behind the winner. More good news was to follow when, from seven girls entered, four actually ran on the day giving the club a team finish. In her first year in the age group, Alex Bunclark is looking an excellent prospect as a cross country runner and finished 11th in 13:01. Nisha Kumari-Webster finished in 14:39 and Kayley Shandley in 17:03 to bring the team home in bronze medal position.

From three Under 13 Boys entered only Kieran Vis ran on the day. He is developing well as a young distance runner and covered the 3 kms in 12:18.

In the Under 15 Girls’ race, only Savanagh Morgan carried Southport Waterloo colours. A confident run brought her home in 18:10 for the 3.8 kms.

The club only had one runner again in the Under 15 Boys’ race but Jack Lenehan took home the family’s 2nd bronze medal of the day. A strong run gave him 3rd place out of 22 finishers, in 14:12 for 3.8 kms.

In the Under 17 Men’s race, Andrew Kershaw was in action and, despite some injury problems recently, finished 5th in 19:23 for 5.4 kms. He was joined by Jonathan Foster, 13th in 23:11.

It was clear that Southport Waterloo’s Amanda Crook was favourite for the Senior Women’s race and so it proved.

She won in 29:03 for the 7.5 kms. Amanda last won this title in 2009.

At the moment, she is running very well and is probably the best in Merseyside. Clare Constable was our 2nd finisher, in 32:33, to take the silver L35 medal, with Stephanie May just one place behind, 9th overall in 33:03. Sue Cooper was 15th in 37:18, taking the silver L45 medal. She brought the team home in 2nd place behind Liverpool Harriers and ahead of Wirral AC. Sarah Grayson supported the team with a finish in 40:18.

In the Senior Men’s race, a fine run from Joe Vis gave him a 6th place finish in 39:51 for the 11.2 kms. In fact, there were four Southport Waterloo runners in the top ten giving the team a great opportunity to take medals. Matt Thompson was 8th overall of 101 finishers, taking the V40 individual gold award, in 40:05 with David Hamilton just behind in 40:31, taking the V40 silver medal, and Ben Johnson just behind him, 10th overall in 41:09. Adam Clansey, 21st in 43:23, and Steve Wilkinson, 31st in 46:04, brought the team home in silver medal position.

Neil Adshead narrowly missed an M50 medal, finishing 33rd in 46:17, Matt Goddard was 37th in 46:54, Peter Roome was 45th in 47:54, Rob Johnson, 52nd in 49:13, Martin Sutton, 56th in 50:07, Phil Bailey, 63rd in 50:55, Matthew Nelson, 69th in 52:14, Tom Peacock, 79th in 54:08, and Mark Davies, 85th in 56:06. Altogether, a great turnout by the club’s senior men.

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