The landscaped grounds of an historic country house were, once again, taken over by thousands of cross country runners and spectators last weekend. The popular Harewood House played host to the annual English National Cross Country Championships, where athletes from Under 13 up to Senior level turned out in their droves to compete.
For some, it was their first time at the event, so they were there to take in the atmosphere and enjoy the whole experience. For others, things were a little more important, and results meant everything. As usual there were plenty of our Junior Harriers in action through all age groups, so if you haven’t heard already, this is how things went…..
Under13 Girls We had two of our best Under 13 girls competing today. Both are still in the younger age bracket of the year group so this was their first time at the event, but Libby Hammond and Tori Buckley just took things in their stride, and loved every minute of it! Libby ran brilliantly, finishing 241st out of a field of 418 competitors. As an added bonus she smashed her previous 3k PB with a time of 13:14. And Tori missed out on playing for Darlington FC U13 Girls to be here today, so it just shows how much it meant to her! We’re sure it was worth it as she also had an amazing run. She crossed the finish line in 306th place, in a time of 13:41. When you consider that this is their first year, that’s two tremendous performances…..in fact, it was pointed out that when Paula Radcliffe did the same race at the same age she came 299th so our dynamic duo are right on track! A fantastic effort girls, keepup the good work
Under 13 Boys It was a tremendous turnout from our Under 13 boys, with five of them lining up at the start. It was the first National Cross Country for all of them so a fantastic experience for the lads. Daniel Richardson is the only one of the five who’s in the second year of this age group, and he was the first of them to cross the line today. He ran a strong race, showing what a quality athlete he is and finished in a fantastic 47th place. To put that into perspective, Daniel finished in a time of 10:57, which was just over a minute behind the winner! It just highlights how busy these National races are and how knocking a few seconds off your time can make all the difference to placings.
Next to finish was Alex Boyer, although there had been a big question over whether he would even get to the start line. He’d had flu for the 2 weeks prior to the race so he certainly wasn’t at his best, but being Alex, he was determined to race anyway. As always he gave it his all and finished 160th in a time of 11:45 – an excellent performance under the circumstances. The third of our Harrier heroes to cross the line was Josh Scott. He’s had an excellent season and, as with all our Under 13’s, he can now tick another box having competed at a national event. Josh battled hard today and finished in 232nd place in an excellent time of 12:11. Only 3 seconds behind was Harrier team mate, Louis Brett. It was a tremendous effort from Louis as he tackled the undulating 3k circuit, eventually crossing the line in 243rd place in 12:14. Completing the set was the one and only, Ashton Harrison. A young man with many-a-talent; he excelled at track and field last season, even fitting in a couple of Pentathlons, and more recently he’s been doing rather well at cross country too! Today he put in another solid performance finishing in 366th place, in an excellent time of 13:37.
Overall, a tremendous effort from all the boys, so well done to all! Considering this was their first ever National event, they all did exceptionally well, and they’re already lookingforward to next year. Bring it on
Under15 Girls We had just the one Under 15 Girl competing today, and like many of our Junior Harriers this was the first National event for Mia Wetherill. She’s had a busy cross country season, competing for both club and school, producing some cracking performances along the way. Today she added another one to the list, finishing in 197th place out of a 362 strong field, in an excellent time of 18:16. A great result considering she’s still got next year to go at this age group. Nice one, Mia, well done!
Under 15 Boys Parkruns aside, Adam & John Russell only started competing for the club just over a year ago, but in that short space of time the boys have achieved so much. This certainly wasn’t their first national final; both ran at the ESAA XC Championships and the ESAA XC Cup Finals, plus Adam ran the 1500m at the ESAA T&F Championships – all during the course of last year! They’ve had a string of impressive results on the way, so they were both hoping to add to that today…..and that they did! Adam was the first of them to cross the line in an amazing 13th place. He was only 45 seconds behind the winner, with a time of 14:12. There’s never much between the two brothers, and only 18 seconds separated them today. John finished a fantastic 40th in a fabulous time of 14:30. Well done boys, two more tremendous performances to add to the ever growing list!
Under 17 Girls There were three of our top girls in action today; India Pentland, Megan Noble and Millie Grayson. Having already claimed the North of England title a few weeks ago, hopes were high as India stepped up to the start line, although she nearly didn’t make it there at all. She’d been suffering with a bad cough that she just couldn’t shake off. She had to pull out of her training session on the previous Saturday, and it was her coach’s view that, unless she improved dramatically, she shouldn’t race. She took a couple of days off, trained better on the Tuesday but they didn’t make the decision that she would definitely run until the Thursday before race day. But as the gun went off India looked strong, and after the initial sprint start, when the pace settled, she was up there with the front runners. As the 5k race unfolded, the lead changed hands several times with India taking her turn at the front on several occasions.
Eventually the leaders pulled away from the rest of the field and in the final straight it was down to India and Olivia Grace Mason from Border Harriers. Unfortunately it was Olivia that just made it across the line first, with India taking 2nd place, just 2 seconds behind, in a time of 17:57. What a race. What a result. Congratulations, India, another outstanding performance! Megan is one of our most experienced junior athletes and she’s certainly no stranger to these championships, having competed several times since her Under 13 days. However, with this still being her first year at Under 17, she was up against some tough competition today. But as always, Megan gave it her all today and put in another strong performance, crossing the line in 171st place in an excellent time of 23:14. Great job, Megan, well done!
Like many junior Harriers, Millie Grayson started getting serious with her running at Darlington’s Parkrun. It’s only recently that she’s started competing in the bigger competitions, and she must be enjoying it as she keeps coming back for more! This was Millie’s first National competition, and like so many of our juniors, she’s at the younger end of her age group. A fantastic effort today though, showing true grit and determination; she crossed the line in 200th place in a time of 25:09. Great stuff, Millie, well done!
Under 17 Boys Although Daniel Boyer has only been competing for the club since the back end of his Under 15 days, he’s certainly one of our more accomplished athletes. He competed at the English Schools XC Finals last year, as well as various Biathlon, Triathlon and Laser Run events at Regional and National level. Today was his first time at this event so he was looking to produce a strong performance, even though he was another Harrier at the younger end of the age group. He certainly proved he was a quality athlete and left many of his older counterparts for dust! He was very pleased with the final result – and so he should be – an impressive 74th place, in a time of 21:06. Nice one Dan! Roll on next year!