TALENTED Bromsgrove & Redditch Athletic Club youngster Conor Smith produced an impressive run to finish 23rd in the third Birmingham Cross Country League Division One meeting at Coundon Hall Park in Coventry.
In his first season as a senior, 17-year-old Smith clocked 27.49 to lead the way for a 17-strong B&R squad.
Despite the recent rain, the flat, three-lap course was fairly firm underfoot which favoured the ‘speed specialists’ and the strong university teams of Loughborough and Birmingham turned up in numbers.
Pre-race favourite Graham Rush from Cheltenham managed to hold off Richard Horton of Loughborough to win the race by two seconds in an impressive 26.21.
Loughborough again won the team race, getting their six counting runners into the first 11 positions.
The rest of the B&R scoring six were: 109th James Hood – 30.37; 133rd Mark Appleton – 31.21; 151st Malcolm Duff – 32.03; 160th Andy Freeman – 32.28; 168th Ian Keyte – 32.44.
The remainder of B&R’s squad was: 189th Dean Hartshorne – 33.37; 190th Tom Smith – 33.48; 196th Calvin Scoltock – 33.55; 204th Rob Humphries – 34.12; 208th Kevin Lanckham – 34.16; 221st Tom Richardson – 35.04; 243rd Paul Atkins – 36.40; 254th Jamie Dancyger – 37.54; 272nd Phil Anderson – 39.42; 273rd Ian Nutter – 39.42; 278th Carl Grinnell – 41.18.
Redditch runner Joe Smith, now of Tipton Harriers, finished 25th.
There were 285 finishers in this race, the result of which leaves B&R still at the foot of Division One with one race left and relegation into Division Two now a formality.
The final fixture takes place on February 11 at the University of Warwick. Before that comes the Midlands Counties Cross Country Championships at Prestwold Hall in Loughborough on January 28.
KATY BARDEN led the way for B&R ladies with a sixth placed finish at Saturday’s Midlands Women’s Cross Country League Division Two third round fixture at Aldersley Stadium in Wolverhampton.
This tough course with its little climbs was a test for the club’s ladies but they rose to the challenge and following Barden home were Tamara Freeman (14th), Helen Russell (72nd), Jane Anderson (110th), Charlotte Ball (111th) and Dagmar Prinzing (131st) as 224 athletes competed.
Like the men, the women’s fourth and final round takes place at the University of Warwick on February 11. Similarly, the women also have the Midlands Counties event looming at the end of this month.