Mud, fog, and cold does little to put keen Suffolk runners off at Cross County Championships

The fog descends as the senior men get into their stride at the Suffolk County Championships in Ickw

The fog descends as the senior men get into their stride at the Suffolk County Championships in Ickworth Park. Macauley Delo (No. 176) won the race. Ryan Ostler (No. 90) was third, and Kevin Murphy (No. 129) finished fourth, and first veteran. - Credit: Archant

Macauley Delo and Odette Robson claimed the individual senior titles at the annual Suffolk County Cross Country Championships, held over a tough course at Ickworth Park, Horringer, last Sunday.

Senior champion, Macauley Delo.

Senior champion, Macauley Delo. - Credit: Archant

Although the initial weather conditions were cold and dry, the fog rolled in during the afternoon and the muddy course become more testing for those running in the later races.

In addition to several steep inclines, there was also a narrow river crossing to overcome.

Competing for West Suffolk AC, 20-year-old Delo improved on his third spot from last year to win the race in 41mins 02secs.

Former champion Andrew Rooke, who won in 2012 and 2013, and was fifth last year, was second to Delo in 41.52, so finishing 50 seconds adrift.

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Ipswich JAFFA retained their senior men’s team title for a third successive year, led home by Ryan Ostler, who was third in 43.05.

Kevin Murphy, of Saint Edmund Pacers, was fourth overall and the leading veteran with 43.13, helping the Bury club to second in the team stakes. The top five was completed by West Suffolk AC’s Tom Eames.

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Over-40 veteran Odette Robson won the Suffolk senior ladies’ crown for the first time, and by an emphatic margin. Robson, of the Pacers, stopped the clock at 32.47, finishing 55 seconds clear of runner-up Laura Thomas, of Ipswich JAFFA.

Stowmarket Striders’ Tamara Jordan, a former champion back in 2009, was third in 33.58.

Super veteran Maureen McCarthy, of West Suffolk AC, was an impressive fourth overall, and first over-50 veteran, while Hadleigh Hares’ Elisa Bostock was fifth.

Bostock helped Hadleigh to a notable win in the senior ladies’ team section. They finished just one point ahead of JAFFA, with Victoria Kenny and Emma Gorwood also in the scoring team. Jasmine Hayward, also of Hadleigh Hares, won the under-20 title, ahead of JAFFA’s Isobel Renn and Pacers’ Emily Gooderham.

West Suffolk AC dominated the under-20 men’s race. They filled three of the top four places, with Michael Bartram first in 28.25 and club-mate Seb Anthony 30 seconds behind in second place.

This was a repeat of the one-two in the under-17 men’s race, from both 2013 and 2014.

In the under-17 event this time around, Ipswich Harriers’ John Millar led home club-mate Theo Passmore, with JAFFA’s Paul Wain in third. There was also an Ipswich Harrier gold medallist in the under-15 age group, with Thomas Adams winning in 14.39, finishing 14 seconds ahead of Pacers’ Bailey Clements.

Ben Bayly, of Barnardiston Hall Prep School, won the under-13 title by seven seconds from the Harriers duo of Jack Weaver and George Fricker.

In the girls’ younger age groups, there was once again no stopping Sophie Tooley as she powered to her fifth successive Suffolk cross country title.

Having won the under-13 crown in 2011 and 2012, and triumphed in the under-15 class in 2013 and 2014, Tooley stepped up to the under-17 age group to win by over a minute, from Ipswich Harriers’ Abigail Rose.

West Suffolk AC’s Rebecca Daniel, who won the under-13 race last year, repeated the feat in the under-15 age category this time around.

But it was an exciting finish, with Daniel pipping team-mate Megan Newton by just one second. Newton had led for most of the race, but lost out in a sprint finish. Harriers’ Anna Firth was a distant third.

The Harriers filled the top five places in the under-13 girls’ event, led home by April Hill with Tilly Aldis in second and Holly Fisher third.

An under-11 age group was also introduced this year, with Jonny Peate, of Barnardiston Hall School, and Grace Forster, from Beccles & Bungay Harriers, winning the individual races.

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