Aldershot and Tonbridge head to Mansfield as defending senior champions

Some of the nation’s best cross-country runners are expected to give their legs an early-season spin at the Saucony English Cross Country Relays in Mansfield on Saturday.

The popular early winter meeting is being staged in Berry Hill Park for the 30th consecutive year this weekend and it has again attracted a large number of clubs.

Organiser Ian Byett says that, for the 13th time, more than 1000 team entries have been received and a record number of 170 senior women’s teams and 207 men’s teams.

Byett adds: “The course has once again been prepared meticulously but the recent gales brought down a very large oak tree.

“However, the park management have responded and cleared parts of it in double quick time.”

The course offers a mixture of parkland, a wooded section with lots of undulations and a fast finishing section.

Last year Tonbridge AC won their first senior men’s crown, while Aldershot, Farnham & District took the women’s title and dedicated it to team-mates Stacey Burrows and Lucy Pygott, who were killed in a car accident shortly after the 2016 event.

Katie Bingle, Emelia Gorecka and Emily Hosker Thornhill teamed up to win Aldershot’s title, while Tonbridge’s George Duggan, Charlie Joslin-Allen, Ryan Driscoll and Chris Olley combined to edge out Aldershot’s men by three seconds.

For this year’s edition, the large entries have led to the timetable being tweaked, as follows:

10.45am Junior women (3×2.5km)
10.57am Under-17 women (3×2.5km)
11.26am Under-13 boys (3x2km)
11.50pm Under-13 girls (3x2km)
12.15pm Junior men (3x3km)
12.40pm Under-17 men (3x3km)
1.06pm Under-15 girls (3x2km)
1.30pm Under-15 boys (3x2km)
1.50pm Senior women (3x3km)
2.40pm Senior men (4x5km)

» See the November 8 issue of AW magazine for full coverage from Mansfield