Wrekin Fell 2006

Wrekin Fell Race 02-Apr-06

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Louise Taylor from Shawbirch became the first Telford Athletic Club member to win the senior womens Wrekin Fell Race for 17 years since Polly Gibb won in 1989 and only the 5th in the 29 year history of the race. Previous winners were Jenny Pearson in 1980,Heather Anslow in 1985 and Anne Capp in 1987. The Wrekin Fell Race organised by Telford AC, is the oldest fell race in Shropshire, covers 5 and a half miles including climbs of the Ercall and Wrekin Hills with a total ascent of 1700 feet and is the final race in this years Shropshire Winter Series.This year the race included the English Championships for Under 20's and Under 18's.

Louise, the Shropshire Summer Fell Series Champion,has had a successful winter of cross country made the most of the increased speed that training for shorter 5 k races has given her to come home in 46.33 finishing 26th overall.She was 2 minutes and 22 seconds quicker than last year and her time puts her into the exclusive Top 50 of all time list at 31st position. Her nearest rival was Rachael Thompson from Horclough finishing second in 47.12 and the first under 20 in the English Championship series, with Emma Clayton of Scunthorpe third in 47.33.

Other leading local finishers were 6th (1st V40) Julie Cowley 52.38 , 8th (2nd V45) Gill Evans, Shepshed 53.59, 10th Val Swingler, Shropshire Shufflers 54.56, 11th (3rd V45) Jenny York, Shropshire Shufflers) 55.14, 13th Lindsey Ferguson, Newport, 56.52, 15th Jean Turner, Telford Harriers, 58.12, 16th Davinia Cook, Telford Harriers 60.30, 18th Alison Bradley, Ironbridge, 61.44, 19th (1st V50) Helen MacDonald Jones, Newport 63.23, 19th Linda Edmundson, Wrekin Road Runners, 63.49.

Will Levett,repeated his victory of last year when the race incorporated the National Inter Counties Championships, winning in 35.58, just 22 seconds slower than last year, when he was running against some of the country's top fell runners. Levett, this years Shropshire Cross Country Champion, is gaining a good reputation on the fells having just missed out on a place in last years England team for the World Championships in New Zealand as he was taking up his first teaching post in Leominster. His winning time, last year, on the Wrekin course puts him at 9th on the all time list and the fastest winning time since 1996, just over a minute outside the record set by John Wilde in 1980.

Levett, a former Bedstone College student whose family live in Newcastle on Clun, is a former English Schools Champion, winning that title at Stoneleigh in 1995 was up against this years English Schools senior boys champion Alistair Brownlee. Brownlee who won his title the previous week end in Mansfield was leading over the Ercall Hill, with Levett taking over on the steep Wrekin climb. He established a very healthy lead on the Climb to the summit and by the finish at Ercall Wood school he was just under 2 minutes clear. Brownlee who was running for Bingley, the strong Yorkshire club was second in 37.36 and winner of the Under 18's Championships with Johnny Mellor from Liverpool third and the first Under 20 in 39.01.

Leading local finishers were Ian Hughes from Shrewsbury AC in 11th, 42.13 whilst the first Maldwyn Harriers finisher was Rowland Stafford in 13th, 42.53. Former winner in 2004, Robin Sedman Smith from Telford Ac was 15th in 43.58 just ahead of Kev Francis of Shrewsbury Ac the second over 40 in 44.18. Peter Ball of Shrewsbury AC had one of his best ever runs taking 18th in 44.32 with Tony Nicholls, organiser of the forthcoming Wrekin barrel race, of Wrekin Road Runners was 19th in 44.32. Ed Davies, from Forden near Welshpool was the first over 50 in 20th 44.47 just 41 seconds ahead of his over 50 rival Simon Dawes from Ironbridge.

The Wrekin was the final race in the Shropshire Winter Series and final presentations will be held after the Wrekin Streak race on Wednesday 26th April.

Paul Sanderson