Mansfield Harriers gain national glory

Left to right Paul Butcher, Phil Shaw, Mark Johnson, Andy Wetherill and Alan Smith
Left to right Paul Butcher, Phil Shaw, Mark Johnson, Andy Wetherill and Alan Smith

Mansfield Harriers gained national glory at the weekend at the British Masters Cross Country Relay Championships.

On a rain soaked 3.2 kilometre flat parkland course in Long Eaton, Mansfield Harriers over 45 men’s team carried on where they left of at last year’s championships by collecting team gold as they cruised to victory over Salford in the over 45 team category.

It was also double gold for Harriers Mark Johnson, who received the accolade of fastest athlete of the day.

This year’s Mansfield 10k winner showed a clean pair of heels to the rest of the field to storm round in a time of 9 minutes 41 seconds.

First leg runner Paul Butcher put the team in a good position with a time of 10.09, followed by Phil Shaw, who kept the team in close contention by recording 11.13.

Mark Johnson recorded his superb time to put the club to the fore, before Andy Wetherill held the team in a winning position with 10.37 and the team was anchored in by Alan Smith in 10.02.

Such is the strength of this squad that two of the five strong team - Butcher and Johnson - will be representing England in the British and Irish Masters International Cross Country Championships at Dublin next month,

The ladies had two teams competing in the over 35’s and over 45’s over the same course, but in teams of three.

The over 45’s were very close to medals and finished fifth overall with Maddy Collinge leading the team out, recording 15.11, followed by Denise Winfield (16.38) and Heather Shone (16.08).

The over 35’s finished eighth overall on the day with Bev Armstrong running 13.13 on the first leg followed by Diane Stewart 15.46 and Kahli Johnson bringing the team home in 12.55.

The Worksop Half Marathon was held on Sunday and this incorporated the County Half marathon championships.

The club came away with another two gold medals in this incredible year of success with Chris Allcock winning the vet 40 title in 1.20.49 and 40th overall and evergreen Maddy Collinge winning the ladies over 60 category in an impressive 1.46.41