Weekend News Report - 23rd/24th February 2019

TAC Captures Two Titles at National Championships

The Club took more than two hundred competitors and supporters to Leeds, on Saturday, for the English National Cross Country Championships. With ten events on the programme the championships are a focal point for the club's Winter season and this year were held for the first time in the scenic grounds of Harewood House. Tonbridge came away with five team medals, two of which were gold, plus an under 15 boy's bronze medal from Matthew Taylor.

The men's team could not quite retain the National title that they had won the previous two years and lost out to a strong Leeds team, whilst the women finished in their highest ever position of fourth.

The two championship titles came from the under 20 men and the under 13 girls. Alasdair Kinloch had a fine race to lead the under 20 men's team home in 7th, with James Puxty (20th), Jamie Goodge (24th) and Bede Pitcairn-Knowles (52nd) the other scorers. Their total of 103 points was good enough to win from Cambridge (126) and Reading (159).

The under 13 girls' team completed a full Winter season of being unbeaten in the major championships. They won convincingly, from 41 teams, with a score of 90 points and ahead of Chiltern (173) and Middlesbrough (189). Olivia Breed (9th), Lily Slack (10th), Sophie Slack (21st) and Gracie MacAuley (50th) scored for the team, packing well at the end of the three kilometre race, which had over four hundred finishers.

Ben Cole had a terrific race to lead the Tonbridge men home, with his highest ever 'National' placing in 13th. Henry Pearce rallied superbly, after a difficult mid-race spell, to finish 17th, with the other scorers being Corey De'Ath (19th), Kieran Reilly (44th), Ryan Driscoll (47th) and Max Nicholls (51st) as over two thousand finished. Tonbridge scored 191 points, behind Leeds' winning score of 110, with Bristol in third on 313. A total of 144 clubs completed a team of six scorers.

The women's team finished one place higher than their best ever from two years ago, by taking a fine 4th place from 114 clubs and, with a total of 183 points, were just twelve shy of the bronze medals. Nicole Taylor (12th) finished higher than any Tonbridge athlete had ever done in this race, with Lucy Reid (13th), Sian Robertson (69th) and Kiri Marsh (89th) following her home, from over a thousand finishers.

Matthew Taylor's bronze medal performance, in the under 15 boys' race, helped his team to second place behind Aldershot. Henry Taylor (17th), Fin Croll (41st) and Matthew Dubery (80th) were the scorers, as they finished behind Aldershot, but ahead of South London Harriers, the other medal winners.

The under 17 men captured the fifth set of team medals for Tonbridge through James Kingston (10th), Fraser Gordon (25th), Adam Van der Plas (39th) and Toby Emm (64th)

The other three events the under 20 women placed 8th, the under 17 women 9th and the under 15 girls 23rd, as Tonbridge were the only club to successfully complete scoring teams in all ten competitions.

The following links were kindly provided by Mark Hookway

Full race results

Videos

Photos of the day

Race photographs

Away from the cross country there were some athletes competing indoors. Amongst the highlights were James West improving his own Tonbridge men's indoor 3000 metres record, when he clocked 7.51.19 in Seattle, which moves him to third on the current UK rankings.

On Saturday Elicia Lacey came first in the 60m hurdles at the Lee Valley Minithon in 9.84s breaking her own U13 girls indoor club record.

A small contingent travelled to the National age group indoor championships at Sheffield where Lucinda White and Rebekah O'Brien were the only Tonbridge medal winners.

White recorded a personal best and club record of 3.20 metres when winning the silver medal in the under 15 Pole Vault, whilst O'Brien cleared 1.64 metres in the under 17 High Jump to finish third. Asha Root ran well to make the under 20 women's 400m final, where she finished 6th in 58.09, having recorded 57.82 in the semi-final.

On the roads at the weekend the highlight performance came from Dan Madams, who broke the club over 45 age group half marathon record, at Wokingham, with an excellent time of 74:55.