Dacorum & Tring AC finished a brilliant first overall out of 24 clubs in the second race of the 2015-16 Chiltern League Division 2 cross country series, nearly 300 points ahead of second-place Redway Runners.
The club dominated in both the men’s and women’s categories at the challenging course at Teardrop Lakes in Milton Keynes as a record 48 adult D&T athletes competed.
The event, which brought together 40 clubs from eight counties, also doubled as the first race in the British Cross Challenge, a prestigious national event attracting top cross-country runners across all age groups from around the country.
In the men’s race, the star of the show was Jack Parslow, who finished 17th overall out of 468 runners. Only two runners ahead of him were Chiltern League club members, with the others all coming from as far afield as Northumberland, Wales and the southwest, and many having represented GB internationally.
Jack’s fine finish, in a time of 32.06 for the approximately 9k muddy, hilly course, left him on top of the standings in the senior men’s race in Division 2 for the second consecutive race.
Also performing admirably on the day were Jamie Marlow, third runner across the line from the borough of Dacorum and seventh in the division, newcomer Mike Kazer (20th), Matt Salt (28th), Duncan Hamilton (32nd), Matt Hamilton (34th), Matty Earles (37th) and Steve Russell (44th).
They scored highly enough to keep Dacorum & Tring on top of the club standings after two races, just ahead of Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers in second.
The team’s first place finish was backed up by strong runs from 16 other male finishers: Richard Slack (46th), Russell Morris (58th), Chris Kitchener (64th), Felix Morris-Duffin (68th), Richard Brawn (70th), Stephen Shaw (71st), Andy Young (83rd), Tim Churchill (89th), Keith Wishart (90th), Rob Salt (98th), Tony Reeve (109th), Phil Pugh (116th), Ken Perry (117th), Caspar Du Buisson (119th), Richard Stevens (122nd) and John Slack (123rd).
The senior ladies’ team, made up of a record 24 runners, easily matched the men in their performance, finishing as first club in Division 2, more than 100 points ahead of Bracknell in second place – and the women are in the lead after two races by over 200 points.
In a tough race dominated by national class athletes, ladies’ team captain Sam Fawcett finished fifth overall in Division 2, followed by team-mate Ania Gabb in sixth; the pair were the second and third runners from the borough of Dacorum across the line in a field of nearly 300 women.
Kelly Du Buisson, coming off a fourth place finish in the UK Ultra Marathon Middle Distance championships two weeks ago, was 14th, with Sarah Grover in 18th place.
They were followed by Becky Fawcett (20th), Liz Roberts (24th), Bernie Horabin (25th), Catherine Davies (28th), Tina Le (30th), Samantha Sullivan (31st), Karen Wishart (33rd), Hannah Bennett (44th), Clare Hunt (63rd) Caroline Smart (64th), Debbie Kennard (67th), Penny Wallduck (69th), Michelle Ashwell (70th), Rachel Lewis (73rd), Denise Burford (75th), Pat Hayball (77th), Samantha Hawkridge (89th), Janice Flowers (90th), Alexis Bunce (92nd) and Helen Reardon, who finished 95th – only three months after having a baby.
The club are now well out in front in the division, with a huge gap of some 700 points separating them from second place in the combined standings of Division 2. The next event in the series takes place at Culham, Oxfordshire, early next month.
In other news, four Dacorum & Tring athletes ran Grand Union Canal Half Marathon as part of their winter training build-up.
Daniel Griggs crossed the line in a speedy 1.42.42, while Victoria Thornley was first lady for the club, finishing in 1.58.22 followed by Michelle Ashwell in 2.11.42, just a day after competing in the Chiltern League cross country race, and Kirsty Russell in 2.20.31.
Kate Crossland, meanwhile, competed in the Winter Wolf Run in Leicestershire, a 10k off-road muddy obstacle course, as part of her fund-raising campaign for Myeloma UK.