A MAGNIFICENT WIN FOR SOPHIE AND A VERY BRAVE SILVER FOR THE BELLES.
Charlie Dickinson writes:
Belgrave have a fine recent record in this popular Championship race in which many teams struggle to find a strong scoring six runners. With many of the team suffering with illness or injury, the 13 Belles who were entered ended up with only the bare six on the day, with co-skipper Megan James clearly not well but agreeing to run for the sake of the team. Others were struggling too, Lizzie Goldie-Scott just back from injury with a painful stitch all the way around, and Samantha Amend, still not back to full fitness in the middle of moving house and feeling off colour but ‘if I say I’ll run, I’ll run’.
Then, our wonderful new member Mhairi Hall with a blistering final lap, ran herself to exhaustion as did Megan and we had the distressing sight of both being treated by the medical staff at the end of the race. The team put themselves on the line for this race and were rewarded by silver team medals and packed in a good race with Christina Pennock also supporting the team placing, but what a cost.
Yes, we had probably the bravest team performance from the Belles ever with what was ” 13 ” expected starters to the only six so every finish counted. We were able to also celebrate with an outstanding win from Sophie Harris in what must have been her best ever race and place. Her win was the reward for her patience, confidence and good pace judgment. In contrast to her recent races, she decided to start conservatively then pick the pace up. With three 2.5 mile laps this is the longest cross-country race for women so it was a surprise to see Nicky Taylor of Tunbridge shoot off at the start within the top twenty men. In contrast, Sophie ran her own strong race, but with a comfortable pace so that at the end of the first lap Taylor had a lead of 25 seconds over Sophie who was a clear second.
On the second lap Sophie closed the gap so the two leaders were together as they started the final lap. Looking determined and strong, Sophie then just ran away from the field finishing 43 seconds ahead of second place Taylor, with the five-mile champion Georgie Bruinvels over a minute further back.
Samantha Amend ran her usual strong reliable race for sixth place, then Mhairi Hall who ran most of the race in company with Christina Pennock, in sadly what will be her last race for the Belles, but Mhairi’s final strong lap made up several places to finish 14th. Then finally, Lizzie Goldi-Scott and Megan James who on any other day would have dropped out, but they both soldiered on to the end to earn the team silver medals.
A truly memorable day, guts, determination, and Belles laying themselves on the line for the sake of the team.
S. Harris: 42.31, 2. N. Taylor (Tonbridge) 43:14, 3. G. Bruinvels (AFD) 43:39, ……. 6. S. Amend 46:33, 14. M. Hall50:31, 16. C. Pennock 50:48, 39. L.Goldie-Scot 55:25, 47. M. James 58:06.
Kent AC 114, 2. Belgrave Harriers 123, 3. SLH 144.