At the weekend LUUCCC competed in their first event of the year, the Manchester University x-country relays. The race consisted of a 2.1 mile loop around the university playing fields on a mostly flat course, made significantly harder due to the conditions which were incredibly cold, wet and windy. This proved to be a challenge to some of the less experienced runners. Many of which commented on how they struggled running into a strong headwind over the the last few hundred metres.
The Men’s race commenced at 2.00pm, with 6 people required to complete a team in a field of over 50 teams in total. The winners of the race were Birmingham University A team (again!) with a cumulative time of 1.04.47 despite Salford University’s Joe Bailey completing the fastest lap of the day in 10.19. Leeds University entered an A and B team, with the A team having a closely run contest with Leeds Met for most of the race. The A team got off to an excellent start thanks to international star Freddie Slemeck with a fantastic time of 11.07. The club captain passed on to team mate Alex Bellew who ran 11.05 which marked a fantastic return to form following a series of injuries. They were supported by their team mates Elliot Jackson (11.52), a slightly tired looking Matt Crehan (11.56) due to a hard week of training, Callum Greenwood (12.00) and Luke Buswell who ran a fantastic final leg in 11.33 to finish 9th in the race. The B team also got off to a good start with Seb Goodall (11.39), Phil Sesseman (11.22), Chris Smith (12.20), James Raven (11.41), Tom Powell (12.08) and James Reynolds (13.57). The real stars of the B team were Chris Smith and Tom Powell. Unfortunately both ran with injuries but insisted on running and provided two crucial legs for the B team. Ex-race captain Alex Bellew noted that he was “…very impressed by the boys’ team spirit – they have both done the team proud”.
The women’s race started just 5 minutes after the men’s contest and required 3 runners to compete for each team. LUUCCC entered two teams, both of which featured a blend of freshers and some more experienced university runners. The A team finished a deserved place of 20th with a fantastic run from first year Caroline Ford (14.10) who provided the base for the team which showed the strength at the top for LUUCCC women’s running. The A team was completed by Emma Radcliffe (14.59), and Bethan Davies (15.26). The B team came in with a respectable 31st place with runs from Elizabeth Gedling(15.13), Meg Hayes (18.39) and a second from Caroline Ford (15.06).
Overall it was a great day out for Leeds University who showed their class against some of the best Universities and club teams in the country. Men’s race captain Elliot Jackson spoke after the race: ”It was a fantastic race today, especially by the men’s B team. I was also impressed by some of the freshers runs such as Seb Goodall and Phil Sesseman. They have definitely helped strengthen the depth in the team which was maybe lacking in previous years”