Beagles not at the races in Mansfield

NEWHAM & Essex Beagles runner Dave Mitchinson blamed the absence of key runners on the team s below par performance at the at the English Cross Country Relays this weekend. Minus the talents of the Great South Run winner Mo Farah and top 10 finishers, Mou

NEWHAM & Essex Beagles runner Dave Mitchinson blamed the absence of key runners on the team's below par performance at the at the English Cross Country Relays this weekend.

Minus the talents of the Great South Run winner Mo Farah and top 10 finishers, Moumin Geele and Lee Merrien, the men's senior team finished 20th from a field of 151.

Last year the team came second in the event held at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield, but after a record-breaking display at the National Road Relay Championships, where the team were crowned champions, Mitchinson feared a drop in performance.

"It was always going to be an anti-climax after the Road Relay Championships," said the 31-year-old.

"With our three best runners unavailable we realised our chances of winning a medal were unlikely.

"Even without our key performers we decided to crack on and felt we had a realistic chance of finishing in the top 10.

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"However, we all had to be at our best and we weren't.

"I don't think anyone was particularly pleased with their run."

A line-up featuring Mitchinson (15.31), James Ellis (15.57), James Shane (16.58) and Sam Farah (15.54) could only manage a time of 1:04.21 - more than three minutes off the winning pace. Unknown territory for the usually dominate Beagles.

The junior men's team didn't fare much better.

H Abdi (9.19), Robbie Schofield (9.26) and Page Haines (10.45) produced a time of 29.32 to finish 23rd overall.

In the under-17s category, the A team claimed 26th place with a time of 30.50 from N Iddirisu (9.47), Y Sheikh (10.37) and Tommy Bower (10.25).

The B string crossed the line in 33.07 to finish in 57th position.

R Golsts (10.45), D Kail (11.06) and J Watts (11.15) made up the trio of runners.

The Beagles under-15s squad also came 57th. Youngsters A Russo (7.37), J Robinson (7.33) and J Smith (7.23) completed the course in 22.34.

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