Set in the magnificent grounds of Harewood House, and on one of the warmest February race days any of us could recall, this year’s National was once again a magnificent spectacle. For the cross country runner this really is the peak of the season, and for those juniors who took part, an unforgettable experience which, we hope, will inspire them for the future. There were one or two notable absentees on the day, but the entry was pleasing – we had 19 finishers – and there were some sterling performances throughout the age-groups.
As usual in championships, the first race was the U17 Women, and once again we were given a wonderful start by Emily Field and Ruby Firth, who were 37th and 76th respectively, in what was a high-class field.
Our U15 Boys have been our best team this season and once again, despite a couple of absentees, they managed a team score. Alex Flaherty, in a pleasing 39th place, Theo Clay (222nd), Sam Mantle (303rd) and Owen Pacey (312th) were the 29thteam home.
There have been all sorts of viruses floating around in the last few weeks and the team most affected was our U13 Girls. Nevertheless, they all battled round bravely to also secure a 29thplace in their team event. Rebecca Flaherty finished in an excellent 16th place, followed by Martha Jackson (43rd), Rubie Coulton (396th) and Holly Walters (397th).
In the U17 Men’s race, Joe Carnelley once again ploughed a lone furrow in his first year in the age-group and had a very creditable run to finish 146th. In the U13 Boys, Theo Armitage, who has two more years in the age-group, was 331st and Alistair Trusselle, making his season debut in cross country, was 368th.
Team-wise, our best performance came in the Junior Women, where only three counters were required to make a team. Phoebe Francis (90th), Vicki Merrick (104th) and Eliza Findlay (116th) packed splendidly to finish in a very pleasing 15th position.
Our Junior Men couldn’t make a team, being without a fourth counter, but Reuben Mantle (79th), James Askew (160th) and Josh Spencer (187th) all acquitted themselves very well.
All in all, a most memorable day, with the best team atmosphere I have seen in my time at Bingley. There was tremendous support throughout, particularly from Graham Smith to whom, as usual, I owe a huge debt of gratitude.
Junior Cross Country Team Manager
|U13||16||Rebecca Flaherty||11:28||331||Theo Armitage||13:09|
|43||Martha Jackson||11:48||368||Alistair Trusselle||13:40|
|U17||37||Emily Field||19:41||146||Joe Carnelly||22:22|
|Junior||90||Phoebe Francis||26:11||79||Reuben Mantle||32:00|
|104||Victoria Merrick||27:11||160||James Askew||35:18|
|116||Eliza Findlay||27:58||187||Josh Spencer||38:12|