Last Saturday, The Saucony English Cross Country Relays took place at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield, where they have been staged since 1989. Once again, over a 1000 teams were entered over the 10 Senior and Junior races. The Championships got under way at 11:00 am with the Junior Women’s 3 x 2.5K and it was action packed all the way through with the final race, the Senior Men’s, starting at 2.40 pm.
This event is now part of the build up to the Trials at the end of November to get into the GB Team for the European Cross Country Championships, so many a potential athlete for that Team were in action. The Course at Berry Hill had been meticulously prepared, with a mixture of good parkland, a wooded section with lots of undulations and a fast finishing section making it a fabulous course for this popular event.
With some exciting competition expected, Darlington Harriers had three of our junior teams taking part : Under 15 Girls Under 15 Boys Under 17 Girls
Under 15 Girls A slight change to the Under 15 Girls team that took part in the Northern Cross Country Relays a fortnight ago; this time Emma Hart and Jess Hall were joined by Megan Noble to make up the trio, each of them running a 2k leg. First up was Jess who ran an excellent first leg and completed the circuit in 8:17.00. Next was Emma, determined as ever she pushed hard and managed to finish the second leg in 8:12.15. Finally, anchor woman Megan ran a strong third leg crossing the line in 8:28.05. As always, a solid performance from the girls running against some tough competition. With a total time of 24:57.20, they finished 47th overall out of 101 teams! A great effort girls, well done!
Under 15 Boys Liam Brittle, Tom Finney and James Roberts made up the boys Under 15 team. For all 3 of them, this was their first taste of the National Relay Championships, and the boys made a brave effort up against some tough competition. Liam ran the first of the 3 x 2k legs, pushing hard, and finishing in a tremendous time of 7:09.85 – that’s 46 seconds faster than his 2k leg in the Northern Counties Relay a fortnight ago! The second leg was taken on by Tom, possibly the least experienced of our trio, but he ran with confidence and determination, completing the circuit in a cracking time of 7:56.60. Last but by no means least, James ran an excellent third leg, making ground all the way, he managed to finish in 7:37.00. Overall the boys finished 71st out of 106 teams – a great debut at the Nationals for the lads; well done to all three!
Under 17 Girls ‘Experience’ was the key word for our Under 17 Girls, India Pentland, Catherine Roberts and Ellie Phillips. Always serious contenders in their own right, as a team they are a force to be reckoned with! India ran the first of the 3 x 2.5k legs and, as we’ve come to expect (but not take for granted!) she ran a cracking first leg finishing 6th overall in a time of 9:20.25. Next up was Catherine who ran like a seasoned professional, gaining 2 places moving the girls up to 4th, eventually finishing in 9:27.70. Ellie, one of our busiest athletes at the moment, took on the third and final leg. She showed true grit and finished in a rather impressive 10:17.25. With a total time of 28:47.70, overall the girls finished a fantastic 11th out of the 64 teams taking part!! A tremendous result against some highly ranked athletes and ‘big name’ clubs – a true show of the girls’ dedication, hard work and talent! We applaud you!
Full results of all the day’s events can viewed by clicking here