McGowan and Lainchbury stay on track for Harriers

Isla McGowan on her way to fourth place for Banbury Harriers
Isla McGowan on her way to fourth place for Banbury Harriers

Banbury Harriers athletes are well placed to take the honours in the final Chiltern Cross Country League meeting of the season.

Ten Harriers travelled from Banbury to Keysoe in Bedfordshire for last weekend’s penultimate round of the Chiltern League.

It was the second largest cross country league meeting in the country with more than 1,000 athletes competing. Held on an equestrian cross country course with the water included and a strong wind to contend with, it was a tough event for competitors.

Isla McGowan has showed great consistency this season and, of the 70 under-11 girls in the race, came home in fourth place, just 13 seconds behind the winner Isabella Haines-Grey from Oxford City. Charlotte Hall also had a good run in 16th.

Tilly Lainchbury has also had a consistent season and, on an energy-sapping uphill finish, showed some good pace to overtake two runners and finish in 15th place. That leaves her in second place overall of the division two clubs.

Sam Davis enjoyed the water feature, despite it being bitterly cold, and his 37th position of the 80 under-13 boys bodes well for next season when he will be top of his age group.

Under-17 runner Katie Pamphlett had a great first lap and was heading for a top-20 finish but slowed a bit on the second lap due to stomach cramps and came home a satisfied 27th place.

Not to be outdone by their younger counterparts, the masters athletes had some very good results.

Of the 252 finishers in the senior ladies’ race, Michelle Bartlett was first Banbury Harrier home in 44th place and fourth F45. Ros Kelling, improving as the season progresses, was 50th and first F55.

Lisa Ansell, returning well after injury and illness, showed a great turn of speed in the finishing straight to finish 129th and 16th F45.

In the usual large senior men’s field of 384 runners, Phil Coy was 316th and Glynn Pritchard 363rd – ninth M60 and second M70 respectively.

With the last round of the Chiltern League to be held at Milton Keynes next month, there should be several Banbury Harriers collecting awards in division two for their hard work during the winter months.