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Bishop's Stortford Running Club second overall after first round of Local League cross country

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There was plenty of mud when Bishop's Stortford Running Club hosted the first of four Local League cross country races.

The 7.5km (4.66-mile) course was on land between Bishop's Stortford, Start Hill and Great Hallingbury, finishing on the field at the hosts' clubhouse in Beldams Lane.

Four clubs form the Local League and more than 150 competitors started – and, more impressively, finished – the punishing course which included plenty of steep hills, slippery and claggy mud, plus four stiles in the home straight.

From left, Mark Lawrence, Pete Jurd, and Ben Pickford. Picture: Mike Grant (53833597)
From left, Mark Lawrence, Pete Jurd, and Ben Pickford. Picture: Mike Grant (53833597)

Sam Pedley and Kathryn Chapman were Stortford's first man and lady respectively, with both finishing third in their competitions.

The fastest eight men and eight ladies score points for their club, and Stortford had an abundant 27 men taking part, including tail marshal Simon Latham, who ensured every participant finished safely.

It was a different matter for the ladies' team, however, as a quick pre-race count revealed too few to make a full team. A saviour appeared in the form of Francesca Palmer, who had signed up to volunteer for the event, as she made a quick dash home for her kit and was on the start line in time for club chair Bekah Cranch to blast the starting klaxon.

Francesca Palmer. Picture: Mike Grant (53833595)
Francesca Palmer. Picture: Mike Grant (53833595)

After the first round, Stortford are in second place in the men's competition, fourth in the ladies' event and second overall. Competitor numbers were depleted for the hosts as around 30 members volunteered during the race in addition to the dozen or so who helped prior to running. Stortford expect to have a full complement of runners competing over the remaining three events.

The club would like to thank landowner Mr Streeter for permission to run part of the route on private land, as well as local residents and the public who used the area.

Meanwhile, Andy Pooley registered a time of 2hr 4min 22sec when he ran the MK Winter Half.

And Tim Kelly clocked 4:49.24 when he took on the Gap of Dunloe Marathon in deteriorating weather conditions.

The race takes place at McGillicuddy's Reeks, which is Ireland's highest mountain range, and includes around 1,000 metres of elevation.

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