ATHLETICS: Gruelling national test for Louth club members

Louth AC's Jason Stainton, Sean Topham, Declan Godfrey, Kerry Stainton, Natalie Stainton and Jane Cope.
Louth AC's Jason Stainton, Sean Topham, Declan Godfrey, Kerry Stainton, Natalie Stainton and Jane Cope.

A squad of six athletes represented Louth Athletic Club at the gruelling ‘Grand National’ of cross country running held at Parliament Hill in London on Saturday.

The Saucony English National Cross Country Championships saw a record 5,283 runners finish across the 10 age group races - 600 more than the previous highest total.

The Parliament Hill course is a really tough slog with runners wading through knee-deep mud and trudging their way up steep, energy-sapping embankments.

First up for Louth was Natalie Stainton who finished in 221st place in the U17 women’s race (5km) followed by Declan Godfrey, who was the 242nd to cross the line in the under-17 men’s event (6km).

Kerry Stainton (329th) and Jane Cope (726th) competed in the senior women’s race (8km) and Jason Stainton (1,170th) and Sean Topham (1,518th) ran in the senior men’s event (12km).

A team of the club’s younger members competed for Lincolnshire in the East Midlands Sportshall Finals at the Grantham Meres Leisure Centre last weekend.

Under 11s Freddie Rhodes and Matthew Spendlove along with under 13s Bea Spendlove, Toby Alexander and Reece Mee took part.

And four of the club’s veteran athletes ran in the Sleaford Half Marathon on Sunday in a race that attracted almost 600 competitors.

Battling the wind as well as the 13.1 mile course, Kevin Wallis was first man home for Louth in 68th place (1.31.47) and Mick Dean was 209th in 1.44.33.

For the women Debbie Simpson was 226th in 1.46.09 and Fiona Lawrie 349th in 1.55.24.

* Fancy a jog? The club has plenty of people on hand to help you on your way, whatever your ability. Training nights are Tuesdays and Thursdays. Visit www.louth-ac.org.uk.