Parliament Hill Fields is to Cross Country what Wembley is to football, and the 12 juniors (and their supporters!) who were there for this year’s National (where there was a record turnout of almost six and a half thousand competitors) all deserve great credit for their commitment. What’s more, the results they achieved were quite outstanding and a tribute to the hard work that they have put in over the winter.
Matthew and Vicki Merrick were our only representatives in the U20 races, and both were competing for the first time in this tough age-group. Matthew achieved a most creditable 59th position and Vicki battled through to 138th.
In the U17 Men’s race Josh Spencer, who had not completely recovered from an injury, finished in 298th place, whilst Reuben Mantle produced a quite amazing run in 19th, surely his best-ever performance over the country.
Equally impressive was Alex Flaherty’s 29th place in the U15 Boys, in his first year in the age-group. He was ably supported by Joseph Carnelley in 85th, a huge improvement on last year, and by Ben Rees in 292nd.
In the U13 Boys there were outstanding runs from both Oliver Peace in 60th place and Samuel Mantle in 63rd, both finishing in front of the Yorkshire champion and both improving by more than 200 places on last year! Jake Wallace, though obviously not feeling too well, fought through to 326th in a field of almost 600 finishers.
In the U13 Girls we had Holly Walters, continuing her fine progress in 351st, and our highest individual placing from Rebecca Flaherty who, in her first year in the age-group, finished in a superlative 16th position.
Huge thanks are due to Martin Peace and to all the others who have coached and encouraged our athletes this season, and I would particularly like to mention Sarah Flaherty and Chris Mantle for their invaluable input on the day.