COVENTRY Godiva Harriers marked their return to league cross country running for the first time in over 600 days at Betley Farm in Staffordshire this past weekend.
The ladies kicked off the event by securing fourth place overall with A team runner Amelia Starling placing highest in seventh.
This was followed by Godiva’s men’s team who finished sixth overall with Lenny Shail’s 23rd place finish the best of the A team runners.
The men’s B team were also in action and sit seventh overall with former high jumper Damien Chamberfort finishing in 123rd place to ensure the club made a promising start to the season on all fronts.
Whilst the ladies charge was led by Starling – in sunny and mild conditions – there were several other impressive finishes with Samantha Puri in 19th, Ali Garton in 30th and Eleanor Crossland – who completed the A team lineup – in 52nd.
Also competing were Vicky Wilson in 109th and Sophie Grantham in 113th to complete the Godiva finishers.
Up next was the men’s race and after Shail led the way on his return to action – Muhammed Daud Muhammed finished in 29th, Jo McLeod in 42nd, Scott Hudspith in 45th, Clark Roberts in 84th and Jamie Hnatushka in 96th – on his debut – to secure sixth place overall after the first fixture.
Chamberfort impressed in the B team – making the transition from high jump to endurance running – and was closely followed over the line by Phil Gould in 129th, Ben Tran in 143rd, Samuel Marshall in 150th, Jason Brotherhood in 156th and Peter Eccleston in 167th.
Several runners just missed out on inclusion in the B team but were close behind Eccleston with Matt Hadlum in 172nd, Michael Todd in 178th – on debut – Daniel Gaggini in 211th – on senior debut – and John Treadwell – also on debut – in 213th.
Other finishers included Michael Katsoulis in 226th, Simon Clark in 232nd, Isreal Sanchez in 234th and Adam Hancock in 243rd – with Clark the only runner of the four not making his debut.
The next fixture takes place in Northampton on Saturday, December 4 with both the ladies and men in action.