City of Stoke AC vet Mandy Vernon has something to celebrate in these dark times with success at the British Masters Cross Country Championships earlier this month. Mandy claimed the W45 title after an excellent performance against a fiercely competitive field on a hilly course which included a testing water feature.
A lot can happen in a week as we are all aware of in the current coronavirus crisis with a race calendar that has been left decimated. The BMAF Cross Country Championships on Saturday 14 March at Corwen, North Wales was one of a few events that went ahead before sport was put on hold.
Top class runners from across the country gathered at the Rhug Estate on a dry, windy day where they looked to give a good account of themselves with individual and club pride at stake. Men aged 35-64 ran 8km and 65+ Men and Women completed 6km.
They faced a ‘proper’ cross country course – voted one of the best in Wales. Their challenge included farmer’s fields, hills and a stream that was crossed several times; most managed this without an undignified dip in the mud. Finally there was a good 1km downhill section before a full on sprint across the finish line.
Mandy Vernon won the W45 title in a time of 25:01 with Sarah Bevan of Keighley & Craven AC second in 25:43 and Stephanie Robson of Bingley Harriers & AC third in 26:16.
The Rhug Estate is a popular venue for cross country acoount of the course and the local support which race director Gareth Hughes says: “makes it a pleasure to stage the championships here.”
Image courtesy of City of Stoke AC/Mandy Vernon