Exmouth Harriers not able to make it three-in-a-row at the Devon Cross Country Championships.

PUBLISHED: 10:59 11 December 2014 | UPDATED: 10:59 11 December 2014

Exmouth Harriers senior women were not able to win their team competition at the Devon Cross Country Championships (held within the Westward League fixture) in Exeter on the first Sunday of December, writes Dave Eveleigh.

That meant there was no third successive team success, but there was some consolation in their finishing third in that category and being the first veterans (over 35) team.

Running 5km on a hilly, twisting course the same athletes made up both teams (times in brackets): Cathy Newman (18:00), Hannah Bown (19:43) and Lisa Hatchard (23:07). Cathy was first in the Woman Over 50 category and third woman overall while Hannah was second in the Woman Over 35 section.

Alice Kelly (20:56) was second Under 20 Woman. With tough competition these days in the Women Over 50 section, Dawn Teed (23:27) was not among the medallists this time out.

Tom Merson was the Men’s race winner, but was not eligible to score for Exmouth’s team.

Merson was timed at 27:58 for the 8.9 km run. Jamie Palmer was the next Exmouth runner to finish, in 30:07 and he was first in his 45-49 age group.

The next Exmouth runners in (times in brackets) were: Tony Hatchard (31:30), Adam Miller (31:56), Jamie Pearson (31:56), Jon Garrity (35:11) and Dave Eveleigh (42:07). Palmer, Hatchard and Miller were the first Veteran (Over 35) team.

The Westward League Women’s competition which included runners not qualified for the Devon Championships races saw 119 women and 168 men complete their respective courses. Cathy Newman was 13th overall in 18:00, Hannah Bown 19th (19:43), Alice Kelly 41st in 20:56, Lisa Hatchard 73rd in 23:07 and Dawn Teed 76th (23:27). For the men in the Westward League Tom Merson was first (27:58), Jamie Palmer 15th (30:07), Tony Hatchard 36th (31:30), Adam Miller 42nd (31:56), Jamie Pearson 46th (31:56), Jon Garrity 84th (35:11). Mention too for young Aiden Bown for a successful run in the Under 11 Development race.

This all leaves established front-runners Merson and Newman well on course for the former overall individual gold, and the latter an overall medal and Over 50 gold, with the greatly improved Palmer also heading for a medal. Most excitingly the Men’s team are firmly in second place with three fixtures to come.

With the final fixture in Redruth leaders Cornwall A.C. are firm favourites, but if Exmouth pulled out all the stops they could yet catch them and certainly better last winter’s third place.

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