How wonderful to see 21 penguins competing in the first race of this season’s Charles Stanley Westward XC League held at Stover.
I’ve attached a report on the day’s events.
21 NEWQUAY ROAD RUNNERS PERFORM WELL IN HOT & SUNNY DEVON XC
HEATHCOTE & WEBSTER LEAD RESPECTIVE TEAMS HOME report by Paul Wright
The first race of the Charles Stanley Westward Cross Country League saw 21 of Newquay’s finest compete on an outstanding course in the grounds of Stover School situated close to Newton Abbott. From early beginnings as the Chestnut School in Newton Abbot in the late 1920s, Stover School was founded on its present site in 1932 by Mrs Joan Key (née Dence). The 64 acre site comprises the core of Stover Park, the historic estate of the Templer family from the 18C. The estate was acquired by the XI Duke of Somerset in 1829, remaining in the Seymour family until its sale after the Great War in 1921.
The weather was kind with the sun shining, the temperature was high and a number of athletes suffered as a result. Conditions underfoot were close to perfect, so different to those experienced the year before when runners had to contend with ankle deep mud up to their ankles and rain throughout.
The senior races were both great spectacles, despite the senior ladies 5+K event being a bit of a farce, more on this later. The winner was Cornwall AC’s Grace Brock in a brilliant time of 20.43. Leading the Newquay team home was former GB athlete Miranda Heathcote with a time of 23.39 which placed her 20th out of the 158 finishers. Miranda is on the comeback trail after an enforced 3 year layoff, she only returned to training 6 weeks ago. She ran the perfect race on her return and I’m sure she’ll be moving up the field as the cross country season progresses. Out of the 12 ladies representing Newquay RR 6 were running their first race over the country as a senior, Michelle Steele, Samantha Jayne, Lucy Hewitt, Donna Francis, Louise Cooke-Davies and Paula Osborne in addition U17 athlete Danni Rawson who was running in the black & white for the first time and they all did the club proud. The club finished 9th of of the 61 teams competing and in the veterans were 5th out of the 38 teams in this category.
The organisers should have been aware that when you set a course of varying distance loops, the one rule is to always run the small loops first and not intersperse them with medium and large loops. They were warned a few days prior to the event but chose to ignore this sound advice. As a result there were a number of senior women, through no fault of their own, who did not run the full distance as they missed out one of the small loops, a distance approaching 800 metres. Amazingly the course referee in consultation with the organisers has decided the result should stand. Newquay RR are considering making an appeal to have the Senior Ladies race called null and void.
Such a sad end to a great race. The overall positions and times of the NRR ladies were as follows, some of whom missed out one of the small loops when following the instructions of a course marshal:
The men’s 10+K race saw North Devon’s Phil Norman win in a superb time of 31.51 Leading the 9 Newquay men home in fine style was Craig Webster whose 39.11 placed him 53rd out of the 172 finishers. Newquay Road Runners (NRR) were delighted that 3 within their ranks were running for the club over the country for the first time Lee Hall who was 81st, Luke Reed placed 115th and Barry Osborne came 148th they all did themselves and the club proud and have advised they can’t wait for the 2nd league race which is being held at the Newquay Sports Centre on Sunday 12th November. The men’s team placed 15th out of the 44 teams and were 6th in the veterans league out of the 31 teams who were represented. The overall positions and times of the NRR men were as follows: