Ryston Runner Johnson strikes county cross country gold medal

Pete Johnson 1st M60 Vet Men
Pete Johnson 1st M60 Vet Men
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A wild, windy weekend saw a couple of dozen Ryston Runners engaged in competitive action.

On Saturday the Norfolk County Cross Country Championships were held in Norwich, where two second team places were won along with one individual title.

Back, from left: Paul Firmage (grey sweatshirt on end) (77:34); Martin Blackburn (83:03); Keith Morris (a bit behind Martin) (84:31 - 9 secs faster than last year); Jane Ashby (non starter due to a cold); Stephan Harris (72:45); Juliette Meek (86:21) ; Stewart Robins (68:50); Nic Bensley (61:32); Warren Armstrong (58:01); Tony Savage (71:21).'Front: Andy Harrod (95:48); Sarah Partridge (91:45); Pauline Sparrow(89:31); Julia Norman (79:37); Simon Able (64:15); Lorena Latisaite (71:58); Kevin Howlett (71:41); Mick Ennis (117:36).

Back, from left: Paul Firmage (grey sweatshirt on end) (77:34); Martin Blackburn (83:03); Keith Morris (a bit behind Martin) (84:31 - 9 secs faster than last year); Jane Ashby (non starter due to a cold); Stephan Harris (72:45); Juliette Meek (86:21) ; Stewart Robins (68:50); Nic Bensley (61:32); Warren Armstrong (58:01); Tony Savage (71:21).'Front: Andy Harrod (95:48); Sarah Partridge (91:45); Pauline Sparrow(89:31); Julia Norman (79:37); Simon Able (64:15); Lorena Latisaite (71:58); Kevin Howlett (71:41); Mick Ennis (117:36).

Charlie Wakefield definitively won the under 13B race, leading from the start, and finishing about half a minute ahead of his clubmate Bailey Took who was silver medallist in this category after winning a great battle with a CoNAC athlete.

Unfortunately there was no third Ryston athlete in this category or a team gold would have been pretty much guaranteed. Charlie has now qualified for the Virgin mini London marathon where he will compete with all the other county champions in the English road running championships.

In the same age group, Kate Willis led the U13G for most of the race until just pipped into silver position over the last 200m. Kate’s sister, Meg, and Rosie Booth made up the Ryston team who took county silver. Katie Moyle and Mia Moore gained some valuable experience in this race too.

Harry Wakefield ran a shorter than usual U11B race and managed sixth place which was a reasonable result in a county event. Erin Pattinson was the sole U11G sporting her Ryston colours and finished 13th.

MLNF Ryston Dec 6 XC juniors 'Photo of Junior athletes, back, from left: Bailey Took, Charlie Wakefield, Kate Willis; front: Harry Wakefield, Rosie Booth, Meg Willis.

MLNF Ryston Dec 6 XC juniors 'Photo of Junior athletes, back, from left: Bailey Took, Charlie Wakefield, Kate Willis; front: Harry Wakefield, Rosie Booth, Meg Willis.

Annie Rooks won the U17G title outright, as well as being the oldest Ryston female competitor over the whole day.

In the Men’s race Callum Stanforth was best placed of the Ryston party, fourth Senior overall.

James O’Neill (now actually M35, although this Masters category has still not been universally recognised by UKA) was seventh and John O’Neill 13th, resulting in silver team medals for Ryston in the Senior Men’s competition.

Pete Johnson put the stamp on his reputation as one of the country’ best M60 competitors with a definitive gold medal in his category.

The main road race on Sunday was the Nene Valley 10 at Peterborough, where Ryston Runners comprised six per cent of the field of 300. Significantly windy conditions did not prevent some fine performances and new PBs.

Warren Armstrong ran impressively to finish 13th overall/second M40 in 58:01, a close run thing with the third placed runner in his category a mere seven seconds behind.

Next home was the in-form Nic Bensley with a PB of 61:32, 4th M45 and 26th overall.

Others featuring in their age categories were Kevin Howlett (2nd M55), Paul Firmage (3rd M60), and Pauline Sparrow (3rd W60).

l Ryston Juniors took part in the final Norfolk Sportshall match of the season.

The under 11 Boys team of Ben Smith, David MacQueen, George Evans, Liam Clare and Kit Howlett finished the season strongly which resulted in them finishing second out of 12 teams.

Howlett had multiple top three places in 2 Lap, Hurdles and Speedbounce. Clare won the Vertical Jump.

A reward for their hard work during the season, Smith, MacQueen, Clare and Howlett have earned their first call-ups to the Norfolk team to take part in the Eastern Championships in January.

Gabby Clare, U15 Girls individual, took third in Vertical Jump, and seventh overall in the series. Also competing on the day were Saffron Teasdale, Lily Teasale and Sophie-Jane Hearn.