THREE debutants were among the Fleckney and Kibworth Athletics Club squad who turned out for the first race of the 2012/13 Derby Runner Cross Country League near Markfield.
After the recent deluge, the 5.5-mile course was a real handful, even for experienced practitioners, making the efforts of the newcomers all the more commendable.
The women’s team started the season with a fine result, taking third place in division two, with team captain Lorna Muskett leading by example with a solid 20th place.
Helen Newbery is another model of consistency and looked comfortable in 26th spot. Two other team regulars, Lucie Butwell, 66th, closely followed by Bernadette Owen in 69th, ensured the team points were secured.
There was an encouraging cross-country debut for Joanne Raine, who dealt with the unfamiliar conditions with aplomb, closing out with a 161st finish.
Leading the way for the club in the men’s section was Karl Beardall, in his first outing after a break following his main autumn objective, The Great Eastern Run at Peterborough. Also marking his first outing at ‘masters’ level, Beardall was comfortable in 12th place. With illness calling time on three other notable performers who would have given Beardall company at the head of the field, Mike Turner filled the next finishing position in 183rd place.
A number of clubmates were caught in an unfortunate log jam at a stile crossing, although this did little to detract from the enjoyment of the race.
The next men’s finishers were Dave Wheeler, in the middle of heavy triathlon training, in 264th place, and not far in arrears was the first of the debutants in the form of Lee Pickering, 275th.
The other men’s debutant and, in turn, taking on his first race of any description was recent joiner Jimmy Singh in 314th place, beating numerous seasoned runners.
Fleckney and Kibworth AC men’s captain was highly satisfied with the turnout and the application displayed.
He said: “Our enthusiasm for last year’s league was a bit mixed but this was our best turnout for two seasons.
“The contribution of our first-time cross-country competitors, especially given the underfoot conditions, augurs well for the season ahead.”