Nene Valley Harriers ace Charlotte Taylor got bogged down in the Liverpool mud at the weekend.
Taylor had travelled home from her San Francisco University base to compete in the British Athletics Cross Challenge, which incorporated the European Cross-Country Championship trials.
The 23 year-old has been going from strength to strength since relocating to the USA but suffered a rare setback, finishing 17th in a race in which she was among the favourites.
The World Championship 10,000m finalist made a good start, and was up with the leaders early on.
However, the USA cross-country courses that Taylor is used to running on are generally firmer underfoot than the Sefton Park mudbath, and the quality of the field was such that any weakness would be punished.
Aldershot and Farnham’s Emilia Gorecka won the race covering the 8.1km course in a time of 27:59. Taylor, who had the beating of Gorecka on the track during the summer, finished a minute further back, and is now unlikely to be selected for the GB team for a championship in which she played a starring role last winter when finishing fourth in the Under 23 race and winning team gold.
Taylor has never been one to sugar-coat her disappointments and summed up the race frankly when saying: “Sadly I’m not very happy with how my race went. I really struggled with the muddy conditions and I don’t think the result reflects where my fitness is at right now.”
The Liverpool setback came just seven days after Taylor had finished third in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Cross-Country Championship in Louisville Kentucky, leading her university to second place in the process.
Nene Valley had three other athletes in action in Liverpool. Latvian steeplechase international Edgars Sumskis impressed with a 73rd place finish out of over 500 athletes in the senior men’s race, clocking 33:13 on the 10km course.
Bradley Allan finished 120th in the men’s Under 20 race and Megan Ellison ran in the Under 20 girls race and also finished 120th.
A number of local road runners made their way over to Milton Keynes on Saturday for the 53rd running of the Wolverton 5, one of the oldest races on the calendar.
Nene Valley’s Michael Channing led the way in 21st place in a time of 27:05.
Ruth Jones was 11th lady home in a high-class field with a 32:53 clocking, while Barry Warne ran 33:49 to take the silver medal in Over 55 age group of the Eastern Masters Championship which was incorporated in the race.
Peterborough AC’S Steve Hall also had a strong run, finishing 52nd in 29:37 to take silver in the Eastern Masters Over 45 category.
Several Werrington Joggers were in attendance with Phil Hamlyn (31:48) and his wife Rosslyn (37:59) the pick of the bunch.
Bushfield Jogger Eric Winstone travelled up the A1 to his county of birth on Sunday to compete in the Doncaster 10k.
Winstone’s pilgrimage proved worthwhile as he finished first Over 65 in a season’s best 43:56.