It's mud glorious mud for the Peterborough AC runners
Rachel Gibbs led the charge for Peterborough Athletic Club as they enjoyed a glorious day in the mud at the Eastern Counties Cross-Country Championships at Keysoe near Kimbolton on Saturday.
The 24 year-old won the ladies race while Steve Robinson led the club to team victory in the senior men’s race.
Gibbs was at her best on the Bedfordshire 6km course, which featured a 10-metre stretch of a shallow pond, as she romped home in 24:17 for a winning margin of over 20 seconds in her first cross-country outing of the season.
Robinson finished runner -up in the senior men’s race, but Peterborough AC dominated proceedings taking the team prize with ease after their five athletes all finished in the top 20.
Robinson lost out to the race winner, Bedford and County’s Matt James, by just 12 seconds, but was nearly a minute clear of the third placed athlete, clocking 42:22 on the 12k course.
Stuart Haw was next home in fifth with Shaun Walton (9th), Steve Hall (17th) and James Sadlier (20th) completing the triumphant Peterborough team.
The PAC success story didn’t end there though.
Sadlier took the Over 35 gold and Hall the Over 45 silver in the Eastern Vets Championship and Wendy Perkins the gold in the women’s Over 35 category.
Earlier in the day Elizabeth Taylor put in an excellent performance to take bronze for PAC in the Under 13 girls race and the Under 17 boys team of Luis Tuner (9th), Nathan Copland (10th) and Dominic Fitzharris (11th) coped with the 6km course well to win team bronze - not a bad effort seeing as none of them are experienced cross-country runners.
Delighted PAC team manager Matthew Dalton said: “What a day we had. It was great to see so much bling around PAC necks come sundown! Well done to all our middle distance coaches who are churning out some top quality athletes this winter.”
Eye Community Runner Isaac Ellard suffered a rare age group defeat, losing out by just one second to Huntingdon’s Joey Croft in the Under 17 race.
Nene Valley Harriers only entered one team, with the majority of their youngsters taking a well deserved weekend off from their busy cross-country schedule.
Ella Robinson, Katie Tasker and Olivia Mead came home in seventh, eighth and ninth positions in the Under 15 category, and finished as the second team.
Sean Beard assembled a team of Nene Valley veterans, who competed in the Over 45 age group at the British Masters Cross-Country Relay Championship in Long Eaton last weekend.
Beard ran the opening leg, handing over to Dave Neal who put in the quickest stage for the club, completing his 3k lap in 10:52.
Chris Mooney, Chris Armstrong and Phil Parkin all enjoyed strong runs to bring the Harriers home in a respectable 10th place.
Nene Valley Harriers’ San Francisco University athletics scholarship student, Charlotte Taylor, was 10th in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 Cross-Country Championships at the weekend held in Terre Haute, Indiana.
With a 5,000m time of 16:05 and a 10,000m clocking of 33:25 to her name, 2016 has been something of a breakthrough year for the 22 year -old high flyer, who is ranked second in the British Under 23 10,000m rankings.
Taylor also won gold in the British Under 23 5,000m Championship held at Bedford in July.