STAINLAND Lions know they have a fight on their hands if they are to gain further top honours in the West Yorkshire Cross Country League after Sunday’s first race of the winter at Baildon.
Competitors had to pay their entry fees for the whole series in advance, possibly contributing to a record turnout of almost 500 runners, all keen to get their money’s worth!
Fifty Lions were among them, including Leon Severn, who had completed the Tour of Pendle the previous day.
The five-mile race, run entirely on tracks over Baildon Moor, turned out to be a warm up for the main event, the mighty raffle back in the club house. More a marathon than a sprint, it actually had an interval and is in all likelihood still being drawn.
In the race, Lions took a bit of a mauling from host club Baildon Runners but there were individual performances. Matthew Pierson was first Lion home in fourth place and Matt Ray, Gavin Foster and Richard Hand all finished in the top 20.
Lucy Collins, Lorraine Naylor, Danielle Hirst and Clare Smith all posted fine results for the ladies’ team and Sean Thompson, Simon Rawnsley and the unstoppable Aileen Baldwin did well for the super veterans team.
Cross country captain Tim Walker said: “It was not the best start to the season but with plenty of big hitters missing we can be sure that things will improve as the season goes on.
“It was good to see Matthew Pierson back out racing again. We’ve got some work to do at the next race but if we put out a full strength team we’ll be able to pull back the lead.”
The Northowram Pumas contingent was led home by Tim Brook in seventh, Rick Ralph in 26th and Luke Cranfield in 32nd.
Queensbury RC’s Alistair Galt was ninth and Gary Rowling 24th. The club’s super vets were team winners with the ladies third and the men seventh.