Ryston Runners AC members line up at the first of the club’s cross country grand prix events at Shouldham.

ATHLETICS: Despite appallingly wet and muddy conditions the Ryston Runners AC’s Cross Country Grand Prix Series at Shouldham Warren got off to a successful start.

More than 200 athletes braced themselves to race against each other and the conditions. 

Among them were several new names in the club results, as well as the return of some former members. There was also a special mention for the volunteers who turned out to help set up and take down the courses and do administration and support jobs.

At senior level, the series began well for the hosts, with Callum Stanforth and Robert Simmonds making it a one-two in the men’s short course race, and several other podium places. 

The W50 category was a clean sweep for Ryston thanks to Linda Marshall, Pauline Drewery and Sarah Taylor and the M45, M55, and W60 categories featuring Ryston Runners in top three places – Dickie Ebbs and Nic Bensley (M45), Tony Savage and Ian Todd (M50), and Maureen Wolfe and Jane Ashby (W60). 

John Hopgood won the M40 age group, and Stewart Robins was third M50, while Anna Seaman took top spot in the W40s and Rhiannon Jones and Lesley Robins were second W35 and W45 respectively.

Junior members taking home prizes were Archie Bone (1st u11B), Ellie Goldring (3rd u13G), Evie Goldring (1st u15G), Bailey Took and Owen Burge (1st and 2nd u17B), and Rosie Booth (2nd u17G).

Other Ryston results – U11 boys: 5 Will Saunders, 9 Jacob Booth, 12 Sammy King. Girls: 7 Abigail Bransgrove, 8 Alisha Greenwood, 10 Mollie Skerritt.

U13 boys: 9 Dylan Whitehouse. U17 girls: 4 Tiegan Moore.

Senior men: 7 Gareth Hunt, 9 Jack Schmollman, 10 Ben Foxwell, 15 Shaun Hamer, 17 Tristan Langley, 19 Kevin Took, 23 Richard Wilkins. Women: 8 Charlotte Smith.

M40: 4 Jamie Bransgrove, 7 Jake Whitehouse, 8 Mark Fountain. W40: 4 Emma Thompson. M45: 8 Owen Jary, 14 Simon Goldring, 17 Charlie Wilson. M50: 10 David Lane, 15 James Hornigold, 16 Martin Elsegood. M55: 6 Keith Morris, 7 Jon Benstead. M60: 4 Paul Firmage. W60: 5 Gill Hart.

It was Nic Bensley’s last race as an M45 but his second race of the weekend as on Saturday he was at Sea Palling for the last of the Dune Runners 2019 Nelson Knee Knobbler Series. 

Running over the long course, he was pipped to the post for the first time this season by a younger runner but had done enough to take the series win.

In Nerja in southern Spain, Cath Duhig walked in the 35th Trofeo Villa de Nerja 5K, comprising five tricky laps of a fairly crowded resort town centre. Finishing fourth in the W40-plus category, she clocked 31.07.