JK 2011: Northern Ireland - Day 1

Tyrella South provided a large area of complex sand dunes with great runnability, resulting a technical challenge which caught out many if they didn't keep in touch with the map. Not many runners made it through the entire course cleanly, and some seconds spent checking navigation en-route would save many more seconds on missing controls completely.
The women's elite middle distance proved to be just as exciting as in the sprint, with just three seconds seperating winner Sarah Rollins from Hollie Orr. Once again Hollie was leading for much of the race, swapping with Helen Palmer for a time through the middle section of the course. While Helen missed 15 seconds at 17, a 30 second miss at 20 put her out of contention while Hollie missed the same amount at 22. 
Over the course Sarah gradually made up time from an early 30 second miss at the fourth control and some fast splits in the final few tricky controls before the finish were enough to secure a narrow victory. Tessa Hill had a solid run after an early miss to take third, fifteen seconds down on Hollie, and 22 seconds clear of Helen in 4th. Grace Crane took fifth, in 36:33 with Riina Kuuselo completing the podium in 36:58 while Pippa Archer in 7th couldn't find enough over the rest of the course after losing 80 seconds at the second control.
In the men's elite it was the second victory of the weekend for Matt Crane, a minute clear of a trio of Edinburgh University athletes Hector Haines, Mark Nixon and Duncan Coombs in a very closely packed podium completed by Oleg Chepelin and Alasdair McLeod. While Matt won in a time of  34:38 for the 5.7km course, the top six were seperated by under 100 seconds, and it wasn't as clear cut a victory as the time suggests.
It was Alasdair McLeod who led for much of the race, until two consecutive misses totalling 90 seconds took him out of contention as he finished 98 seconds down at the finish. Mark Nixon might have been in contention too, but like Alasdair a couple of consecutive controls cost him 60 seconds and it was left to a solid run from Hector Haines to take 2nd place. Like Sarah, Matt managed to restrict his mistakes to one early on which he was able to recover time from over the rest of the course. 
In M20 elite Peter Hodkinson was leading until a mispunch at the 17th control, and said he was “rushing and punched a control on a similar feature”. In the end Matt Halliday won in a time of 37:35 by 2½ minutes from Alan Cherry, Alan saying he was “quite pleased with the result, but wasn't with my run when I finished”. In third was Robert Gardner, just ahead of Jamie Stevenson with the rest of the field a long way down.
In W20 elite Mairead Rocke was again a clear victor, her time of 36:53 five minutes clear of four Edinburgh University athletes Rebecca Harding, Kirsten Maxwell, Jo Shepherd and Alice Leake. Mairead's time placed her 6th in the W21 elite class, and she didn't lose much more than a couple of 15 second misses.
In M18 elite Jonathan Crickmore won by almost four minutes in a time of 43:51, despite having lost around three minutes over the course. Edinburgh Southern's Andrew Linsey took second place in a time of 47:43, just 15 seconds ahead of Peter Bray.
In W18 elite, Charlotte Watson was another clear winner, a couple of 20 second misses early on aside, she ran cleanly to win in a time of 37:33 which would have placed her 9th in the W21 Elite class. Lucy Butt took 2nd in 41:10, with Florence Haines just edging out Katrin Harding by six seconds for third place. 
In some of the other junior courses the visiting Scandinavians were proving a tough test for some of the British juniors, but not for Fiona Bunn of TVOC in W12A who led by almost 6 minutes over her nearest rivals. In W16A Natalie Beadle of LOC had a 3 minute lead, as did Aidan Smith of SYO who had a clear 3 minute lead on M16.
While for the elite it was a middle distance race, for everyone else it was standard length courses, which meant some long tough courses as the temperatures increased throughout the day. 
In W35L Helen Pearce led by 6 minutes from Anne Straube and Mary Ross, while M35L was far closer with David Løver of Modum just 9 seconds ahead of Roger Goddard of Forth Valley. In M40L Bill Edwards was a minute clear of Richard Barrett and James Logue, while SYO teammate Charlie Adams held a two minute lead over Alan Velecky of Southdowns.
Legendary Norwegian Jorgen Martensson found tough competition in M50L after a clear victory in the sprint on Friday, winning by just two seconds in the middle from Jonathan Emberton of EPOC.
In W40L South Yorkshire's Jenny Peel won by a couple of minutes, and in W45L OD's Lesley Ross held a similar lead over Marsella McLeod of Inverness.
Full results and splits can be found on the SportIdent results page

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