After a break of four years, the Championships were back in Pontefract, but with considerably better conditions both overhead and underfoot. It was very pleasing to see an increased entry – we had 21 finishers – with outstanding individual and team performances.
The first race was the U17 Women, where we got off to a wonderful start. Emily Field continued her splendid form with 11th place and Ruby Firth produced her best run of the season to finish 17th. The good performances continued in the Junior Women’s race with Vicki Merrick getting back to her best with 32nd place. Charlie McVay was our only entry in the U17 Men, running only his second race for the club and showing real determination to finish in 139th place. In the U13 Boys Theo Armitage, who has two more years in this age-group, finished 167th, closely followed by Matthew Peace (173rd). Grace Dawson in the U15 Girls once again ploughed a lone furrow but produced a fine run that resulted in 68th place, which should give her confidence for the schools’ races to come.
So far this season our most successful team has been the U15 Boys, and their fine form continued with a splendid 5th position; our best junior team performance in these championships in my 14 years as team manager! They were led home by Oliver Peace (28th), ably supported by Alex Flaherty (37th), Ben Rees (73rd), Theo Clay (130th), Samuel Mantle (170th) and newcomer Owen Pacey, making his championship debut (176th).
Our U20 Men, current Yorkshire champions, once again performed very well, but were one short of the four counters needed for a team. Reuben Mantle, James Askew, and Josh Spencer, all in their first year in this age-group, finished 40th, 55th and 60th respectively.
I’ve left the U13 Girls until last, since it produced one of the best-ever Bingley junior performances. Our last individual winner in these championships was a certain Alistair Brownlee, who won the U20 Men’s race in 2008, and I’m sure he would have been impressed by the remarkably mature performance of Martha Jackson, who pulled away in the closing stages to cross the line in gold medal position. A victory even more remarkable when you realise Martha has another year in this age-group. Scarcely less impressive was Rebecca Flaherty’s 4th place; another excellent performance to add to her outstanding running CV. These two, for the first time this season, were supported by three club-mates, and their team finished in a fine 8th position. Grace Ross, in her season debut, was our third counter (127th) and the ever-dependable Holly Walters our fourth (154th). Rubie Coulton, also making her season debut, battled through to finish 204th, despite feeling very unwell on the day.
(It was also a delight to see former Bingley man Emile Cairess win the Senior Men’s race.)
All in all, a very successful and enjoyable day.
As always, I’m grateful for the fine parental support, and must give special thanks to David Potter for all his help and encouragement. Club-mate Mike McCartney was with us for the day, and I’m sure he and coach Martin Peace were as pleased as we were with our teams’ performances.
Junior Cross Country Team Manager