NUAXC kicks off virtual race series

NUAXC make the most of their options during lockdown with a Virtual Summer Series

Toby Bryant
9th April 2020
NUAXC at Leeds Relays last year

Despite the cancellation of all events for the foreseeable future, including the club's summer training camp, last weekend Newcastle University's Athletics and Cross-County opened up their Virtual Summer Race Series.

Abiding by government COVID-19 guidelines, running once-a-day, solo and staying two-metres apart from any others outside, the Virtual Race Series allows athletes to compete against fellow club members every month - 32 signed up to race.

Taking place at the start of every month until August, competitors take to the streets of their hometowns to compete over a set distance, uploading their effort to running social media site Strava. Upcoming events will include distances of one-mile, a half marathon, three kilometres and 10 kilometres, however, it was the five-kilometre time trial that opened the series.

Replacing the cancelled Cow Bell Race, organised by NUAXC for clubs across the country to compete on the Town Moor in Newcastle, it's a distance that athletes had been training for with at least four PBs being posted over the weekend.

In the women's race, it was captain Lauren Davies-Beckett who posted the quickest time of 19:18, running laps around Holmebrook Valley's Country Park in Chesterfield. Further south, Emily Oakshott shot round in a time of 20:08 on the outskirts of Plymouth and Shona Haston finished third in a time of 20:31 on a hilly Hury Reservoir route.

In the overall women's standings, once handicaps were taken into account, it was Anna Robson who topped the leaderboard thanks to a near five-minute PB. Oakshott in second and Becci Ousby in 3rd.

For the men, there was no surprise as Callum Hanson charged around Newcastle's City Track in 14:54. Jack Douglas was "absolutely thrilled" to run a big PB to go sub-16 minutes in Loughborough and Chris Larkin was third quickest of the weekend in 16:18 - spurred on by an in-form Matt Larkin biting at his heels.

Overall, handicaps taken into account, it's Bury St Edmunds' own, Harry Shingleton, who sits in first place with a big PB. Samuel Hansen is in second after his run, noting that "lovely sunny Quayside is always nice" and Toby Bryant places third.

Larkin, organiser and Cross-Country Captain, spoke of his elation at club members' participation:

"We've been really impressed with everyone's keenness and enthusiasm, and blown away by some of the PBs that were run."

"Follow me on Strava", fellow captain Davies-Beckett added.

The next event of the NUAXC Virtual Race Series, the one-mile time trial, takes place at the start of May.
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