The first race of the season in the Kent Cross Country League was held at a sunny Nonington on Saturday. The league is contested by the best middle-distance runners in the county and this season this first senior 10Km race was contested by many top runners. Medway & Maidstone AC had 20 runners competing, a great turn out for this first race. The 10Km hilly and grassy race was won by Corey De’ath, Tonbridge AC in 33.31, followed by fellow team member Ryan Driscoll 33.49 with Abel Tsegay (Invicta AC and Eritrean International runner). All three runners have previously run mid-to-low 14 minutes for 5K, this giving an indication of their speed endurance. Tonbridge produced a very strong team for this first race and won the 4-to-score team with just 12 points. Medway & Maidstone AC finished a clear 2nd place with 51 points, followed by South Kent Harriers with 108. In the 12-to-score team, Tonbridge AC were also first (178) and again Medway & Maidstone AC second (331), followed by Ashford in third (1036). This first race result is similar to last season, with Medway & Maidstone fighting back in later races to take the league title. Ben Tyler, returning to form, had a very good race and was the first Medway & Maidstone AC runner home in 7th (35.31). He was followed by Tom Collins in 10th (35.40) and Tewelde Menges in 11th (36.05). Jack Crossley had an outstanding race with his best finishing position, closing the 4-to-score team in 23rd (37.30). The club 12-to-score team was completed by Noel Sutton 25th (also 1st M45 in 37.41), Mark Wilkins 28th (38.09), Simon Habtom U20, 31st (38.36), Chris Rampling 33 (38.37), Michael Major 36th (38.58), Lee McMeekin 40th (39.11), Barry Royden 43rd (also 1st M50 in 39.22) and Marley Godden 44th (39.37).
Athletes providing strong back-up to the scoring team were Neill Wright in 45th (39.38), Gareth Williams 79th (42.02), Andrejs Safars 81st (42.12), Adam Featherstone 85th (42.430, Sean Rodwell 113th (44.35), Bob Fursey 134th (46.16), Alun Rodgers 148th (47.23) and Darren Wright 159th (48.33)
In the U20M a strong run by Quinn Austin 6th (18:45) and Lorcan Rodgers 16th (23:54).
In the U17 another strong run by Hamish Reilly 10th (18:11), Ben Hughes 13th (18:52) and Jude Gordon 17th (19:03) to complete the three-to-score. Followed by Daniel McGlynn 20th (19:22) Alex Donnelly 21st (19:29) Luke Stringer 24th (19:44) and first time competing, Ismael Alonso (24:14). The team standing in 3rd place.
The U15 boys finished 5th overall. They were led home by Ethan Gear 16th (14:53) followed by Joe Hollands 32nd (16:04) and Cameron Featherstone 43rd (16:38) who closed the team. There was further good packing from Kelechi Ryan 44th (16:40) and Finn Rodgers 46th (16:49).
The U13 boys finished third overall with Alistair Shelley first home 8th (11:42) followed by Hayden Gear 9th (11:43) and Kaz Gogol 15th (12:09) who closed the team. The scoring team were ably supported by Ethan Rollings 33rd (12:51), Jacob Graham 40th (13:04), Kieran Elvy 41st (13:05), Elliot Chamberlain 53rd (13:29), Robert Wright 61st (14:00), Charlie Rouse 66th (14:13) and Noah Ryan 71st (14:31).
The senior women had a great start to the season. There was an impressive start for newcomer Jemma Whyman, 15th (21.39) followed by strong performances from Kerrie Clarke in 31st (22.33) and Jennie Fowler 33rd (23.06) to make up the 3-to-score team and currently standing in 5th place out of 18 teams. Strong back-up came from another newcomer performing well, Antel Muller 41st (23.31), Taryne McPherson 47th (24.12) and Claire Wilkins 64th (25.02) to close the 6-to-score and finishing in 4th place in the current standings. The scoring team was backed up by Bernadette Harrop 78th (25.56) and newcomer Jill Young 107th (28.22).
In the U17W first to finish was Charlotte Young in 8th place, followed by Millie Morris in 33rd and Bea Fury in 35th. The team standing in 4th place.
In the U15G first over the line was Anna Palmer in 15th (17.29) place, followed by Fern Curran in 23rd (18.15) and Emma Ryan in 26th (18.34). Next to finish were Sarah Mitchell 35th (18.54), Annabel Young 41st (19.23), Martha Tatnell 47th (20.16), Amirah Blackman 49th (20.18), Ciara Harrop 52nd (20.40), international race walker Katie Stringer 57th (21.46), Amy Jukes 58th (22.02) and Erin Hughes 59th (22.29). Amirah and Amy were competing for M&M for the first time. The team standing in 3rd place.
In the U13G first home was Abigail Royden in 17th (13.27) followed by Lily Crossley 42nd (14.46) and Molly Marsh 47th (14.59), in her first cross country race for the club. They were followed over the line by Abbe Clarke 48th (15.02), Emily Moyle 50th (15.07), Beth Palmer (51st) (15.10), Grace O’Connell 54th (15.36), and Stephanie Emsley 59th (16.22). Emily, Beth and Stephanie were also competing for the first time. The team finishing in 6th place.
The next race is at Tonbridge on the 27th October.