Final Round of Manchester Area Cross Country League
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Monday, 13 February 2012

Saturday saw the fifth and final round of the Manchester Area Cross Country League (MACCL) at Clayton Vale, near to the Eastlands stadium in Manchester.

It was clear once the athletes arrived that this was going to be a different sort of challenge compared to the mud and rain that has featured at so many of the races this year. The undulating course was still frozen hard, and there were large patches of solid ice covering parts of the course.

The marshalls soon decided that the first two races, for U11G and U11B/U13G would be shortened to remove two treacherous sections, and in the end all races were shortened slightly, much to Chris Larkin's annoyance (!), to remove a particularly icy and narrow uphill section from the course.

Isla was the first Harrier in action, placing 24th in a time of 6m48s. Overall, Isla has placed 17th in the League, and is looking forward to taking part in the same age group next year. Isla has raced in every one of the League races this season, despite being the only U11G to turn out, and her dedication was rewarded at the end as Nick Massey presented her with a medal to recognise her commitment, enthusiasm and smile!!

In the next race, Harriers were represented by Esther and Kelsey running in the U13G race. Both ran well, with Esther putting in a particularly strong finish. Esther placed 30th in a time of 10m36s and Kelsey placed 33rd in a time of 10m53s. No U13Gs had been able to race in 4 of the 5 races this year, so there are no overall results for these athletes. Over the season Georgia, Charlotte, Esther, Molly, Jenny, Alex and Kelsey have all run well and are hopefully looking forward to next year's series.

The combined U13B/U15G race was next, and the marshalls were now allowing the final icy downhill section to be included in the race. In the U13B category, once again a full team of 3 runners was taking part, meaning that, after a few years without scoring any team points, the squad had scored team points at every race. Chris brought the team home first with a well placed 7th in 10m19s. James was next in 21st place and Mitchil managed to race (without falling over!) to place 23rd.

After racing in every one of the five races this season, Chris placed 6th in the league overall and is hoping to build on that next season.

In the team competition, the great turn out for each race meant that the squad earned themselves a well deserved second place and a medal to take away. Although the three runners for the day picked up the medals, this was a real team effort, so as well as Chris, James and Mitchil, the medals were also for Billy, Nathan and Bradley who had each raced in two of the earlier rounds and helped to score the team points.

Kiera, running competitively for the first time since a knee injury, was the only U15G racing this weekend, and came home in 20th place in the race, despite her knee clearly giving her some discomfort. Kiera had raced in four of the five races in the series, and placed a well deserved 17th in the league overall. has a couple of photos.

So the cross country season is nearly at an end. Chris and Georgia will be representing Cheshire in the upcoming InterCounties XC in Birmingham in March, but its back to the track for all for some shorter races on more predictable surfaces!

Well done to everyone who has raced in the MACCL this year, and thanks especially to Nick for organising a successul winter campaign!