For the first time in some years the Northern Clubs was back in Yorkshire and, for the first time, in the magnificent setting of Harewood House. The weather was relatively kind to us this year, though the strong wind did cause problems and conditions underfoot were very tricky in places.
Fourteen of our dedicated juniors took part and I think it would be true to say that they really rose to the occasion.
The first race of the day was the U17 Women, and what a start we were given by our two representatives: Emily Field continued her excellent form with a wonderful 10th place, and Eliza Findlay showed her usual battling qualities in 61st.
In the Junior Women’s race it was good to see Vicki Merrick fighting hard and showing real determination to finish 57th: let’s hope that she has more luck with injuries in the future.
Our best individual placing came in the U13 Girls where Rebecca Flaherty, in her first year in the age-group, produced a sparkling run in 6th. Holly Walters, despite a tumble in the mud, continued her improvement in 164th.
Next came the U17 Men, with both our runners showing considerable improvement on last year: Reuben Mantle showing real quality in 20th place, and Josh Spencer producing a fine finish in 110th.
Once again, our U13 Boys were the only group to produce a team result, and what a result it was: 7th place in such a prestigious event was a great reward for all their hard work. Our first counter, Oliver Peace, looking really strong, had what must be his best-ever run in a magnificent 16th place. He was ably supported by Samuel Mantle in 56th, Jake Wallace in 92nd, Theo Clay 106th and Joseph Smith 164th.
In the U15 Boys race we only had two runners, but both produced very pleasing performances: Alex Flaherty, in his first year in the age-group, finished in 22nd position, just one minute behind the winner, with Joseph Carnelley a further 30 seconds back in 44th.
As usual I am so grateful to Graham Smith and David Potter for their continuing help and support, and I know that they and coach Martin Peace were as pleased as I was with our team’s performances. We were all delighted, too, to see one of our former runners, Emile Cairess, achieve an emphatic win in the Junior Men’s race.