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Runner's champion effort

PUBLISHED: 08:27 29 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:32 03 July 2010

Great Yarmouth Runners at Horsford.

Great Yarmouth Runners at Horsford.

THE cross country season is gradually drawing to a close, with much of March being given over to championship races of one sort or another, culminating in the biggest of the lot in Edinburgh at the end of the month.

THE cross country season is gradually drawing to a close, with much of March being given over to championship races of one sort or another, culminating in the biggest of the lot in Edinburgh at the end of the month.

There is still time for the rounding off of a number of series locally, however, with two races in the space of five days last week.

The first was at Bury St Edmunds for the seventh and final race in the East Anglian Cross Country League.

Here the Great Yarmouth Road Runners were well represented, as they have been throughout the league, which began back in October. They were again well supported by young runners from the East Norfolk Sixth Form College.

One such was Ryan Seakins, first clubman home for the fourth consecutive race this year and thereby confirming his position as the winner of the college's own cross-country championships.

He was followed on this occasion by the strong-running Richard Blake, with Dan Chaney, (second in the college championships) and Neil Sibley making up the A team.

Leading the way home for the B team was Mike Spragg, along with most of the others finding the drier conditions than usual on the parkland course much more to his liking than in previous years.

He was followed by Stephen Etherington, preparing for the Paris marathon, John Bone, fresh from his excellent run the previous weekend at Bungay, and Paul Westgate, another runner who has made a major contribution to this league.

Making up the male contingent and finishing with aplomb was Chris Harbord, while the sole female Seasider was Emma Leeves, who ran her usual strong and controlled race to finish fourth overall.

She too has made a major impact on this league, a series which will hopefully continue next year with even more races at a variety of different venues.

Another series which it is hoped will run and run also reached its culmination last week, that is the three-race Norwich series at Horsford.

Here the Manning family and Paul Brookshaw made it three in a row, while Mike Spragg was pleased to complete two of the three races, having been unavailable for the first race. This series too, in its excellent woodland setting, needs to be supported to the utmost.

The championship races in March start with the Sainsbury's English Schools' Championships at Liverpool on the 8th and end with the IAAF World Cross Country Championships on the 30th. A feast for all to enjoy as the cross country season draws to a close and attention switches to road racing.

Mike Spragg

Results: EACCL race seven, Bury, Wednesday, February 20, Great Yarmouth Road Runners finishing positions and points.

Men: 10 Ryan Seakins 191 pts, 13 Richard Blake 188, 14 Dan Chaney 187, 18 Neil Sibley 183. Total team A 749; 21 Mike Spragg 180, 24 Stephen Etherington 177, 25 John Bone 176, 32 Paul Westgate 169. Total team B 702; 40 Chris Harbord 161.

Ladies: 4 Emma Leeves 197.

Norwich Series, race three, Horsford, Sunday, February 24. Great Yarmouth Road Runners finishing order (different races).

U9s: 1 Patrick Manning; ladies: 1 Karen Manning; Men: 1 Andrew Manning, 2 Paul Brookshaw, 3 Mike Spragg.

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