Warm weather and a dry course greeted athletes at Kings Park, Bournemouth, on Saturday. The Isle of Wight Athletic Club had competitors in all events in this first match of the season. The first events were Under 11’s, with Finlay Lax completing the course well (13th). In the Under 13 Girls race Maisey Kent was first back (36th) closely followed by Jessica Heng (37th) then Naomi Holdsworth (45th) and Mia Stillwell (59th). For the boys U13 Jacob Patey led the Island runners (45th), with Adam Atkey (54th), Noah Patey (76th), Billy Williams (83th) and Jackson Hill (86th) completing the team. Mabel Lewis (22nd) had a great sprint finish in the U15 Girls race followed by IWAC teammates Milly Bacon (38th) and Eden Canning (52nd). Campbell Laird in his first XC League event made the most of the fast conditions for a fantastic 12th place, with Dylan Holdsworth in 38th. Under 17’s saw Millie Williams (27th) leading in Elsie Lewis (32nd) before the clubs best result came with Henry McLuckie crossing the line 3rd after a close race with two older runners – Tom Timmons (37th) completed the 6km to round off the junior events.
Both Ryde Harriers and the Isle of Wight Athletic Club competed in the senior races – and there was plenty of joint support for the Island runners on the course through the day.
In the men’s race with Ryde Harriers being promoted to the second division meant a full team went from 3 to 5 runners, unfortunately due to ill health the team was incomplete. Trevor McAlister was the first home for the Ryde team 2 minutes quicker than last year in 39:43 (149th), very closely followed by Leslie Cupis in 39:53 (153rd), his first race after a long time off due to injury. For Richard Melville and Graham Gardner this was their first time competing in the league, finishing in respectable times of 41:46 (181st) and 44:10 (212nd) respectively. For the Isle of Wight Athletic Club Dan Eckersley carried on his Island Games form (17th) and Steve Haggerty made a welcome return for 131st.
In the senior women’s race Ryde Harriers had Elaine Parry the first home for the team in 29:13 (99th) despite it being only a week after running the IW Marathon. Carolyn Ward, also her first time competing in the league finished in 33:28 (137th). For Isle of Wight AC Justine Bacon had a great run for 84th and Eden Crumplin strong in 126th.