Week Ending - 2023/03/05



Mick Judd

After four successive seasons as Derby Runner Cross Country champions, Badgers men were pipped at the post at Market Bosworth on Sunday, having to settle for second place behind Poplar Running Club of Leicester. The club went into the last round of the five-race series, joint top of the table meaning they only had to beat their closest rivals in order to defend their title once again. However, a spate of unavailability and a late injury deprived the side of several key runners and try as they might, the team were only able to take third place on the day behind champions Poplar and host club Hinckley, leaving them as runner’s up for the first time ever. 

Leading the way yet again was the outstanding Danny Warren, relishing the cross-country challenges each time and delivering high-level performances without fail. Here he took third place and as a consequence, he ended up finishing second male overall in the series, a fully deserved accolade for the hardworking club chairperson. One place behind him was the in-form Dave Hill, deep into his impeccable marathon training block and running superbly well on his least favoured surface off the back of another heavy mileage week. The third man back, straight off the plane after a week all-inclusive in the Canaries was key man Neil Russell, who ran a terrific race for the team in 14th place, finishing with plenty of gas in the tank after expecting an extra mile of distance. 

Chris Tweed was next home, making the top thirty. His form has improved exponentially since embarking on his Badgers career and his marathon training paid dividends once again with a super-strong finish when all around him were flailing. Sam Starkey grafted hard, crossing the line soon afterwards. The men’s vet team will be far stronger for his inclusion in the upcoming road league season for sure. Cameron Barnes and Mark Coggan both showed excellent turns of speed with no lack of effort before Ashley Taylor slogged his way to become the eighth counter on the day. 

Giant striding brothers-in-arms Robert Boland and Matt Green crossed the line next in quick succession with Martin Graham, Simon Payne and Eamon Thawley all getting home. Jamie Lawrence rounded up an excellent first year in Badgers colours for him with a 3-2 win over former skipper Adrian Payne across the season.

The ladies' side was led home by the industrious Eleanor Fowler, a fine sixth place on the day and good enough for her to take 2nd vet female over the course of the campaign, a wonderful effort from a wonderful runner. New signing Kat Wilson was next back in 34th place with another quality piece of running. Vice-captain Sharon Jackson, Steph White (on her 50th league appearance for the club) and the incomparable Clare Whetton all score vital points for the ladies' side who have unusually been battling for numbers this season. In the junior race preceding the adult one, Jimmy Boland was in scintillating form with another excellent run as his fledgling career goes from strength to strength. 

Eleven Badgers missed the cross-country closer to run at the East Devon coastal race The Grizzly. An undulating multi-terrain event drawing up to 2,000 runners and coming in at just under 20 miles, it boasts stunning scenery and tough times. Ryan Preece was first home in 2:42:03 (27th place) with Adrian Payne close behind in 2:45:20. Carl Savage (3:26:14), Dave Jenkinson (3:26:24), Colin Lees (4:00:43) and Rob Crow (4:07:12) all ran well before Liberty Underhill (4:07:14) became the first of three Badgers ladies to successfully negotiate the course. Emma Masser (4:10:37), Paul Grubb (4:12:23) and Peter Mann (4:42:23) did well before Charlotte Oliver achieved her running goal for 2023 by making the start line of the event without a chest infection, coming in two seconds behind team mate Mann. 

The Fradley 10K saw Wayne Repton (45:44) and Megan Griffiths (48:22 – PB) both in action and Anna Savin-Baden ran a fine 2:29 in the Paris Half Marathon, in France. 

Parkrun saw a host of good performances, none more so than the inspirational Mick Bailey who ran a V70 club record at Kingsbury, clocking 25:21 to improve his own mark set back in January of this year. Anne Devenney ran a course-best 31:36 while Mark Repton, Megan Griffiths and Rachael Shelton all made the top ten. Adrian Parkes ran in far-flung Gdansk, Cameron Barnes ran 19:38 to finish fifth at Cannock Chase and Sharon Jackson went one better in fourth at Brierley Forest. The pacy Nicki Bowman was the highest placed lady of the morning as she romped to second place at Queen Elizabeth parkrun in Hampshire in 26:31 with her partner Glyn Broadhurst 3rd male in 20:10. Laura Starkey was the fastest female overall with her 10th place 23:23 at Wollaton Hall parkrun.