Eight great golds for mud-splattered Sutton runners

Action from the cross-country county championships as two runners from Sutton Harriers plough through the mud. (PHOTO BY: Craig Linacre)
Action from the cross-country county championships as two runners from Sutton Harriers plough through the mud. (PHOTO BY: Craig Linacre)

Eight magnificent golds were among an impressive haul of medals won by Sutton Harriers at the combined Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Cross-Country County Championships at the weekend.

Sutton runners basked in the mud at Shipley Park in Heanor, overcoming a course that was badly waterlogged in places, with the U15 boys leading by example to take team gold.

They were spearheaded by Jenson Connell, who took an individual gold by winning the 4.5K race in a time of 18 minutes, 22 seconds, ahead of teammates Charlie Norman, who bagged a well-earned bronze, William Fairweather, who was fifth, and Mark Thompson, who was ninth.

Another golden boy was Jude Ryan, who won the 1.5K U11 boys’ race, ahead of Jacob Nugent in 13th, while another team gold was scooped by the U15 girls, thanks to positions of fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth by Sophie Taylor, Caitlin Elliot, Isabelle Skelton and Lauren Anthony respectively.

The club’s final individual golds were landed by senior runners Nick Luke, who won his category in a time of 44.25 over 10K, Paul Whittingham, who took his age group in 40.16 over 10K, finishing 13th overall, and Sally Hughes, who was first in her age category, clocking 37.42 over 8K.

Hughes was ninth overall, just behind teammate Michelle Willcocks (fourth in 33.36) and just in front of teammate Claire Watson (37.44), with a third Sutton runner, Tracy Parker, finishing 33rd to help the senior ladies win the team gold medal too.

For the senior men, there was also a silver medal in his age group for Ben Burnham, who finished tenth overall, while Sam Moakes (38.09 over 10K) won a silver in the Derbyshire U20s’ category, finishing just in front of Kristian Watson (38.19), who pocketed bronze in the Nottinghamshire seniors’ group. The performances of Sutton’s senior men earned them a bronze medal, while the veterans’ team won silver.

Other top-ten efforts came from Luke Hudd, who was eighth in the U13 boys’ race, and Freja Strom, who was sixth in the U20 girls’ event.