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Race Day 3 of the Midland and Birmingham Cross Country - Saturday 13 January 2024

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Race Day 3 of the Midland and Birmingham Cross Country Leagues Division One - Warley Woods, Saturday 13 January 2024

Hosted by the University of Birmingham, Race Day Three of Division One of the Midland and Birmingham Cross Country Leagues, saw CLC Striders Ladies and Men’s teams travelling up the M5 to test themselves – alongside all the very best runners from the region – over the hilly terrain of Warley Woods in Smethwick, south-west Birmingham.

The CLC Ladies have competed regularly in Division One over the years, but for the men, this is the first season they have been represented in the top flight.

The course had it all – technical sections, woodland, open fields and narrow trails, and plenty of ascents and descents. Perhaps the most merciful thing is that the weather was dry and bright and the ground was firm and free of mud.

First, it was the turn of the ladies. Once again, they were led home by the unstoppable Helen Knight, finishing 42nd overall as 9th in the Masters. Not far behind, Kate Telford finished in 54th place overall and as 11th in the Masters. Liza Bradshaw was next home, 76th overall and 18th in the Masters, and the fourth finisher for the club was ladies captain Rachel Vines in 93rd overall and 26th in the Masters.

Also racing well on the day were Fiona Brady-Miller in 125th, Amelia Mullins In 151st, Laura Leaver in 154th, Nicola Weager in 178th and Emma Abbey in 180th. Overall, the ladies achieved 13th team place and 4th Masters team on the day. And after three races of the series, and with just one to go, they lie in 11th overall, but are the 3rd Masters team – an amazing feat in this ultra-competitive league.

Next it was the turn of the men. Once again they were led home by the ever-consistent Sam Baylis, finishing in 122ndoverall. Next home was John Comer in 164th. Men’s captain Will Pearce battled for 195th and Jon Howes, making a welcome return to the team after longterm injury, also ducked into the top 200, finishing in 198th. Richard Aarons was 205th and Aled Leaver was the sixth team scorer, finishing in 209th.

Also racing hard for the club on the day were Liam Richardson in 214th, Paul Lockyer in 217th, Gary Farquharson in 219th and club super-vet David James, who finished in 243rd. Overall the men finished 16th on the day and they occupy the same placing overall in the Division, with just one race to go.

The ladies team

Pictured, the CLC Striders ladies team, from left to right: Amelia Mullins, Laura Leaver, Nicola Weager, Fiona Brady-Miller, Rachel Vines, Liza Bradshaw, Helen Knight, Emma Abbey and Kate Telford

The mens team

Pictured, the CLC Striders men’s team, from left to right back row: Richard Aarons, Paul Lockyer, David James, Sam Baylis, Liam Richardson, Jon Howes, and Aled Leaver. From row: John Comer, Gary Farquharson and Will Pearce