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Running: Pickering men enjoy first-ever team triumph in 27 years
1:04pm Wednesday 27th February 2013 in Sport
Pickering’s victorious Commondale Clart men’s team of, from left, Andy Harvey, Mike Richmond, Steve Watson and Andy Mitchell
PICKERING Running Club enjoyed their best-ever day of achievement thanks to exceptional individual performances in the Hardmoors Marathon and the Commondale Clart Fell race – and a first-ever team triumph for the men in their 27-year history.
“Super Sunday”, as the club now call it, began with 16 Pickering entrants lined up at the start of the notoriously muddy Clart Race.
Steve Watson flew around the moorland to finish sixth overall in 40 minutes 45 seconds – just 45 seconds behind the winner. His pleasure was unbounded as he claimed a men’s over-40s prize for the first time.
Mike Richmond (42-24) put in another good performance for seventh in the competitive men’s open category, and Andy Mitchell maintained the momentum with a lung-busting 43-29 for an excellent 10th in category.
Again showing improved form, Andy Harvey completed the team point-scoring, a time of 46-03 giving him his best-ever category finish of fourth.
Nick Cousins (47-22) and Richard Todd (47-25) backed up the scorers strongly, while Brian Reed (51-08) again travelled well and Graham Harrison (54-14) continued to sharpen up for the road racing season. Dean Wise grabbed 13th in category with 68-29.
Although team scoring was tight, Watson, Richmond, Mitchell and Harvey did just enough to pip teams from Esk Valley, Redcar and York in the men's team event – and there was a huge cheer from the Pickering contingent when their first-ever triumph was announced.
Meanwhile, Sarah Sissons led the ladies’ team superbly. Clearly up for the challenge, Sissons won the ladies’ open category in 53-06 to also get among the prizes.
Sue Slack's consistent fourth in category, in 57-06, took the remarkable Ryedale artist to the top of her overall series table. Light-footed Cath Watson was suited to the muddy conditions and cruised to seventh in category in 60-11.
Philly Hare was another category winner. Mud-lover Hare lapped up the conditions in 65-33. Lisa Heselwood made a promising racing debut claiming fourth in category in 66-13, while Sally Brown (69-50) looked comfortable throughout. Hilary Turner enjoyed her second place in the super vets category.
The strong showing from the ladies meant they secured fourth and eighth place in the overall race, earning valuable series points.
Meanwhile, Jayson Cavill and Kim England travelled to Osmotherley for the first race in a new trail marathon series called the Hardmoors 26.2.
This race was actually 27.5 miles long over a stretch of the Cleveland Way. It contained a painful 4,000 feet of ascent and many of their rivals were ultra-runners. Both the Pickering runners coped superbly with the hilly, energy-sapping course, claiming silverware at the end.
Top performer Cavill set off fast and kept within 100 metres of the leader for much of the race. At around the 22-mile mark he started to suffer and so had to ease his pace. He eventually finished second in three hours 36 minutes – very impressive for an off-road marathon.
England is built for endurance and led the ladies' race from start to finish. She eased her way through, although struggled from mile 23 when the relentless climbing finally took its toll.
Cavill jogged back to encourage his team-mate through the final stages and a strong finish enabled England to clock 4-58 – some 45 minutes ahead of her nearest rival.