You had to be there to believe it, the 35th running of the World Cross Country Championships will stay in the memory for a long time for those that had travelled to Mombassa as cross country came home to Kenya.
The huge enthusiastic crowds, some walking all day to see their heroes and get the best view around the dry dusty course, were around thirty thousand by the time the junior girls lined up for the first race of the day when the heat and humidity was up to 38 degrees and 80%.
Jess Coulson at her first ever World Cross Country and Steve Vernon at his 5th World Cross had prepared specifically for the heat and humidity.
Steve had spent three weeks with the GB squad in Durban while Jess trained in the heat chamber at Alsager College for two weeks leading up to the event.
It was a fast start as usual in the junior girls, Jess worked sensibly on the first lap and was in 48th place on the first of the 2km laps.
I was waiting with water for Jess who looked easy and unaffected by the heat, so obviously the chamber had worked.
To finish 26th was a great achievement for Jess and will benefit in the long run from running in the harsh conditions, anything else would now seem a breeze.
Steve Vernon went into this race on the back of a long spell of hard uninterrupted training, despite having to drop out at the European Championships with a severe stitch, things had gone well in training and his race in Belguim in January proved that.
Steve looked to be cruising on the first and 2nd lap and refused my offer of water, lying 2nd Brit after 4km he looked comfortable but coming through to begin the 3rd lap he was clutching his side and was in pain from what we have since found was a torn muscle around the diaphragm.
Undetered he battled on to make sure that GB finished a full team in 6th, something the Ethiopians and many of the other nations failed to do, eventually finishing 132nd.
This was the best ever performance for team GB and individualy at these championships.
|29||Mike Shaw||M40 3rd||1:15:01|
|65||Andy Pavey||M 44th||1:19:28|
|66||James Corden||M 45th||1:19:30|
|99||Gavin Astin||M40 15th||1:22:44|
|105||Jenny Knass||L 7th||1:22:55|
|145||Neil Thompson||M 84th||1:25:00|
|152||Stephen Jones||M40 25th||1:25:09|
|159||Dan Oliver||M 94th||1:25:26|
|167||John Harvey||M 97th||1:25:40|
|168||Rachel Shepherd||L 10th||1:25:42|
|170||J Scott-Buccleuc||M 98th||1:25:49|
|211||Kerrie Wood||L40 2nd||1:27:13|
|213||Sarah Lomas||L 14th||1:27:18|
|237||Paul Stepto||M40 45th||1:28:30|
|260||Simon Heys||M45 27th||1:29:13|
|292||Simon Knighton||M 155th||1:29:56|
|302||Sean Whewell||M40 56th||1:30:11|
|364||Andy Smith||M40 66th||1:31:49|
|380||Vicky Barrett||L40 9th||1:32:20|
|402||Alison Coulson||L45 3rd||1:32:47|
|416||Michela Stepto||L40 13th||1:33:09|
|461||Toni McIntosh||L 25th||1:34:19|
|516||Steve Matkin||M45 67th||1:35:21|
|532||Simon Hilton||M40 97th||1:35:39|
|556||Eric Musgrove||M55 13th||1:36:11|
|623||John Delany||M60 6th||1:37:34|
|642||Andrew Harcourt||M 304th||1:37:59|
|643||Maryte Moore||L45 9th||1:38:00|
|775||Barry Thompson||M50 51st||1:40:05|
|813||Andy Nurney||M 379th||1:40:48|
|886||Alan Foster||M45 119th||1:42:06|
|899||Peter Powell||M60 7th||1:42:17|
|963||Jenny Kinnaird||L35 24th||1:43:26|
|982||Anthony Ward||M45 132nd||1:43:37|
|1021||Nick Ham||M40 175th||1:44:11|
|1047||Chris Bryans||1st M70||1:44:34|
|1073||Michael Thirsk||M50 70th||1:45:01|
|1074||Helen Todd||L50 4th||1:45:01|
|1089||Ruth Lee||L 77th||1:45:16|
|1115||Jenny Hopes||L 80th||1:45:36|
|1123||Paul Nyland||M 500th||1:45:43|
|1162||David Gosling||M60 11th||1:46:20|
|1185||Victoria Buckley||L40 42nd||1:46:36|
|1195||Neil Cooke||M45 156th||1:46:43|
|1374||Max Thickett||M 618th||1:49:03|
|1407||Richard York||M 630th||1:49:29|
|1434||Steven Johnson||M45 176th||1:49:49|
|1469||Judith Kilgallon||L35 53rd||1:50:16|
|1694||Susan Holland||24th L45||1:53:10|
|1997||Deborah Cox||L45 34th||1:57:32|
|2166||Jane Nyland||L 189th||1:59:41|
|2167||Maureen Wilkins||L40 98th||1:59:42|
|2303||Jenny Day||L 208th||2:01:17|
|2350||Philip McCann||M50 134th||2:01:54|
|2354||Michael Leddy||M 970th||2:02:05|
|2403||Helen Beard||L45 44th||2:03:23|
|2451||Victoria Healey||L 234th||2:04:16|
|2571||Robert Stevenson||M55 79th||2:06:30|
|2650||Cathy Thompson||L40 146th||2:08:14|
|2730||Nicola Jackson||L 271st||2:09:48|
|2882||Neil Mason||M50 154th||2:13:20|
|3017||Natalie England||L 339th||2:17:30|
|3158||Amanda Whewell||L 45||2:22:41|
|3423||Ann Robinson||L65 1st||2:45:24|
|3440||Peta Walsh||L45 111th||2:52:32|
Haigh Hall Relays
Haigh Hall Relay vet winners; Vicky Barrett, Alison Coulson and Liz Bowden
Report: Phil McCann
The Haigh Hall Relays are an event that many clubs have entered in the past and has been very successful. Sadly recent waning numbers have brought it near to folding, however this year saw a slight increase in the number of teams present, hopefully easing the possibility of that happening.
In the past we have only had an odd ladies team there, this time we made a concerted effort to see what we could do, which paid dividends.
With 3 teams running 4 legs we saw some excellent performances, none more than Jess Coulson just before she makes her trip out to Mombassa for the World Cross Country Championships.
Although a little low-key, there were teams with strong intentions of winning the event, so we were not to have it easy by any means.
In the A-team Jenny Knass ran a superb start to keep in touch with the leaders and hand over in 3rd place. Toni McIntosh managed to move us into 2nd on leg 2. Rachel Shepherd on her first relay worked hard and was just overtaken near to the finish of the 3rd leg.
Finally Jess Coulson raced away and caught the 2nd place runner, moving towards the leader. Unfortunately it was just a little to much, but with the fastest leg of the day she brought us home in second place only a minute behind winners Horwich who fielded their strongest team, showing the measure of our success.
The B-team consisted of Sharon Glendon who ran really hard and was over-the-moon with her effort to bring us in 6th. Jayne Lawton worked tirelessly on this tough course to come in 7th. Next Debra McCann like-wise ran as hard as she could to bring us in 8th. Finally Lyndsey Harrod kept us up there bringing us home in 8th.
The Vets' team consisted of Liz Bowden, Alison Coulson, Maryte Moore and Vicky Barrett. Liz led off and struggled a little in the middle phase to bring us in 8th place. Alison Coulson, pleased to be able to run in this event along with her daughter Jess, made up 2 places to come in 6th. Maryte Moore followed up to maintain that lead. With Vicky Barrett finishing in the same time as Sharon, she increased the gap and finished in 6th place with the team Vet winners.
|Stockport Ladies 'A' - 2nd|
|Jenny Knass (3rd)||23:58|
|Toni McIntosh (2nd)||23:46|
|Rachel Shepherd (3rd)||24:33|
|Jessica Coulson (2nd)||21:48|
|Stockport Ladies Vets - 6th|
|Liz Bowden (8th)||27:59|
|Alison Coulson (6th)||28:10|
|Maryte Moore (6th)||28:56|
|Vicky Barrett (6th)||26:20|
|Stockport Ladies 'B' - 8th|
|Sharon Glendon (6th)||26:20|
|Jayne Lawton (7th)||30:06|
|Debra McCann (8th)||29:57|
|Lyndsey Harrod (8th)||29:33|
The Trimpell 20
A typical Spring seaside day greeted Stockport's endurance athletes as they arrived at Trimpell, close to the soon to be revamped seaside resort of Morecambe - some sunshine, cool temperatures and a blustery breeze.
The course is as flat as they come, making use of the Morecambe to Lancaster cycle path, which at times could almost be classed as bordering on picturesque.
However, it wasn't the scenery the athletes had come to test it was their speed and endurance over this 20 mile 'out and back' course.
With only 5 weeks left until the Flora London Marathon, this race, along with the Wilmslow Half Marathon, has become a 'must do' race as part of a serious marathon training program.
First home and well on his way to another sub 3:00 marathon was Steve Jones in 2:13:19 (4th V40) with plenty left in the tank, youngsters John Harvey and Lee Barratt separated by just over 90 seconds as were Simon Heys (14th V45) and Sean Whewell (15th V40).
The Stockport ladies kept up the full set of Stockport Harriers 'personal bests' with Alice Dagg 16th lady in 2:33 and Sally Keigher (5th V35) in 2:37.