Newcastle University Cross Country Club capped off what has been a tough semester of training at the testing Leeds Cross Country Relays on 2 December.
Five teams headed down to the county of Yorkshire to take on the likes of Leeds, Loughborough, Nottingham and York Universities on a scenic, but squelchy, mud bath of a course.
The afternoon started with the Women’s A and B teams getting their elbows out at the start line. The A Team of Rebecca Charlton, Clara Pettitt and Shona Haston finished 15th out of 33 teams, with Haston claiming the fastest lap of the trio to beat sides from Durham, Sheffield and Leeds. The Women’s B Team also performed well with Julia Smith demonstrating her tactical prowess around corners.
Shortly after the women had crossed the line, it was the turn of the Men’s A and B Teams along with the Mixed Team. Devon Stead was the quickest round from the club with a time of 11:47 on the 3.2 kilometre course whilst youngster Sam Hansen posted an impressive 11:55. The Men’s A Team triumphed over Manchester University but will have their sights set on Sheffield Hallam later this year after being narrowly beat, placing 30th out of 56.
The Men’s B Team consisted of a formidable foursome of Jack Holmes, Sean Haycock, Toby Bryant and Alex Peck. The in-club Holmes-Haycock rivalry took another twist with the former completing his lap four seconds quicker, no doubt pleased after losing out to Haycock at Edinburgh two-weeks earlier.
Special mentions must also go to the Mixed Team’s Andrew Dixon and James Whitmore, as well as James Anthoney and Jack Holmes who completed the course twice after last-minute drop outs. Cross Country captain Anthoney reflected on the day: “It was a really strong race from everyone. I think people really pushed on when racing in a team to post strong times.”
All eyes and legs are now geared towards BUCS in February, the biggest race of the year!