Garden City Runners surrender cross-country title

PUBLISHED: 06:48 18 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:26 26 October 2009

Bruce Judge

Bruce Judge

GARDEN City Runners have finally surrendered their Herts and North London Sunday Cross-Country League title. Having been champions for the last five years, GCR were for once unable to reclaim their top status. They were not able to perform a miracle at th

Joy Allen

GARDEN City Runners have finally surrendered their Herts and North London Sunday Cross-Country League title.

Having been champions for the last five years, GCR were for once unable to reclaim their top status.

They were not able to perform a miracle at the fifth and final race of the series at Watford.

The four team categories and the overall competition were won by FVS Tri, who had been runners-up to GCR so many times.

Snow still covered much of the scenic course in Cassiobury Park and nearby Whippendell Woods, and with a few sunny spells it was looking beautiful.

In one or two places compacted snow had turned to hazardous slippery ice, but the route was largely safe.

GCR's Bruce Judge successfully negotiated the twists and turns, the pits and ruts, the muddy puddles and the ice and snow to finish 18th in 38 minutes 46 seconds for the 5.6 miles.

Not far behind it was a close-run battle. Laurence Pidcock was 20th in 39 mins 09 secs, Dave Desborough 21st in 39 mins 19 secs and Steve Livingstone 22nd in 39 mins 30 secs.

Russell Casey recovered from his trademark late start to finish 34th in 40 mins 39 secs, with Patrick Bird 57th and Dave Edwards 70th completing the A team.

Newcomer Tom Denbigh ran a very promising 46 mins 05 secs for 80th.

There were great performances from Steve Rivett, Rick Hole, Dave Brown, Mick Wise and evergreen George Woods.

The men finished fifth on the day, with the vets second behind FVS Tri.

Caroline Hale capped an outstanding season, finishing as fourth lady in 43 mins 26 secs, behind Herts Phoenix stars Lizzie Hall and Laura Cowley.

Celia Pardoe was an excellent 16th in 49 mins 28 secs with Joy Allen and Helen Spark 36th and 37th respectively.

Avis Cowley was 43rd and Eleanor Draper 56th.

The ladies were fifth and the vet ladies third behind hosts Watford Joggers.

The series awards presentation took place later at nearby Sun Postal Sports Club with Colin Taylor of the hosts and league secretary Malcolm French.

As expected, FVS Tri picked up the series trophies for first men's, ladies, vet men and vet ladies, and in the combined team scores, won by a convincing margin.

The running section of the Hitchin-based triathlon club had benefited from the iron-discipline of their founder in getting consistently high turnouts.

For GCR, a case of victory fatigue had perhaps contributed to being under-strength for most of the series.

The men were third overall, behind Trent Park, while the vets were third behind Royston.

The ladies were fourth, and the lady vets third behind Trent Park.

However, there were some fantastic results for Garden City in the individual overall series totals.

Dave Desborough, in a splendid debut season, took first MV50 with 14, 18, 20, 27 and 21, ahead of FVS Tri's Brian White.

Michael Bowe was second in the MV60 category, and Dennis Draper was the first MV70.

Caroline Hale retained her W35 title in fine style, with a comfortable margin after placing 4th, 8th, 9th, 7th and 4th.

Joy Allen won the W55 category, with 15, 22, 26, 33 and 36.

With plenty of new talent joining the club, there is every reason to expect GCR to be back in October, hungry to win back their crown.

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