Michael Harrison landed his first Chiltern League Division One victory at the weekend – but it was a painful win.
An understrength Bedford and County Senior, Vet and Junior men were in action at a very soggy Wigmore Valley Park in Luton.
Bedford’s Michael Harrison, Josh Lunn and Matt Janes wasted no time in getting themselves into the lead group of six in the combined Division One and Two race of over 300 runners.
As the race wore on, a group of three containing Harrison broke away and started to put daylight between themselves and the chasers.
As the race entered the last 800m it looked as if Michael might win the overall race, but an encounter with a bush on a very narrow stretch of the course resulted in him coming to a complete standstill, with his vest torn to shreds and his legs badly scratched.
Quickly picking himself up he gave chase but was unable to catch the leader and had to settle for a frustrating second.
However, as the overall winner was a Division Two runner, Michael was able to take his first ever Division One victory. Josh Lunn had his best ever result finishing fourth with Matt Janes in seventh.
These were followed by Juniors (U20) Steven and Michael Headley in 12th and 29th, and Matt Bray 44th.
The remaining Bedford runners were all veterans, Alan Turnbull 79th, Andy Blair 89th, Jim Black 111th, Robert Payne 148th, Tony Fitzpatrick 173rd, Bill Goodyear 181st and Simon Murray 194th. With both Senior and Junior squads some way under-strength, they could only finish in second place in their team races.
A number of Bedford & County athletes were in action elsewhere. John Eves had a great run finishing second in the prestigious Metropolitan League CC fixture, only beaten by GB International Richard Goodman. Meanwhile, Ben Alcock was a superb eighth in the Birmingham League, with club mate Sam Knee-Robinson in 40th.
Both the Men and U20 Men’s team have bigger fish to fry in the coming weeks as they prepare for the season’s two major championships.
In a fortnight, the men’s team will be hoping to capture the South of England title for the ninth time in 14 years.
Four weeks later they will be striving to regain the National Cross Country Championship title which they won for the first time in 2014.
The U20 team will be chasing medals in both championships, with a very realistic chance of success.