Women's race winner Marie French of Ryston Runners.

ATHLETICS: A record number of athletes took part in near hurricane conditions for West Norfolk AC’s annual cross country event at Houghton Hall.

Head winds and hail storms throughout the tough undulating course made life difficult for the 19 age groups.

In the u9 category Holly Lawrence narrowly missed out on first place for West Norfolk with Ryan Wood finishing strongly in 14th.

Leah Wightman, Lana Hayes and Tally Doyle all finished well in a tough u11 category.

Despite a fall, Rosie Booth battled back to win the u13 girls category, while Alfie Williams was fourth in the boys.

More first places for West Norfolk came from Emily Collins in the u15 girls and Leigh Robertson in the u17 category.

Ben Collison finished fifth in the senior section and Sally Edwards had a storming run for second place in the veteran women’s category.

About 20 senior and a few junior Ryston Runners also braved the elements and boggy underfoot conditions.

In the senior event, there were four Ryston men in the first six finishers, with James O’Neill second, Callum Stanforth third, Malcolm Tuff (1st M50-59) fourth, and Marcus Hawkins (1st M40-49) sixth, behind winner Michael Eccles of Norfolk Gazelles. Paul Firmage was first M60-69 and Jeff Read took the M70+ honours.

Ryston also bagged the first three places in the women’s race, led by Marie French. Karen Wood won the W45-50 category, with Liz Blakie repeating the feat in the W55+.

Ryston were named Club of the Day.

A more sensible competition choice, given the day’s weather conditions, was that made by Paul Harrison, who took part in the London Indoor Games at Lee Valley Athletics Centre.

He competed in the long jump and 60m in the warm-up for the masters’ championships and matches scheduled over the next few weeks.

Also in London, Mark and Marie Doughty ran for charity in the London Winter 10K.