16 Young Athletes travelled to Liverpool to be greeted with strong winds, showers and a course that was extremely muddy following heavy rain during the week leading up to the event. The starting fields for most of the races were between 135 and 150. It was a record number of entries.
The standout performance was an excellent run from Molly Sherrin in the Under 11 Girls race. This was combined with the Under 11 Boys, so a field of over 300 started out on the 1.9 k circuit. Unfortunately, current Essex Schools XC Champion Molly got caught at the start, but she pushed through the field for an excellent 4th place (photo right) behind the impressive winner, Freya Murdoch from Stockport. Behind Molly in the girls race came Isobelle Matheron who ran really well to place 49th. Molly Wain, who has progressed well this season, should feel pleased with 55th.
I want to praise six of our Year 7 pupils who raced in the Under 13 races. This autumn they have all started new schools with more travelling and homework, together with longer days at school. Great credit should go to Jimmy Geller (photo left) who was 18th in the boys race, again having an excellent run. Not far behind Jimmy was Nathan Wright in 28th, continuing the rapid improvement he has made this season. Archie Sherrin had a great run for 56th on his debut, and Sid Cody ran well for 75th. All four have another year in this age group.
In the Girls race, also over 3k, Zahara Malcolm found the heavy going not to her liking but nevertheless she pressed on in her most determined fashion for a solid 42nd. Year 7 girl Molly Matheron (photo right) seemed to glide over the mud and should be very happy with 50th. The same was true of Larna Morgan (bottom photo) who also ran well for 56th.
The Under 15 Boys was a very competitive race with most of the top athletes in this age group on the start line. Mohammed Ali was again outstanding but our own Kai Boggon kept up with the leading bunch early in the race. He was unfortunate that his leg muscle caused him some discomfort later on, but despite this he was still 15th, only 40 seconds down on the invincible Ali. Kieran Allgood seems to improve each time out, and he put some big names behind him in placing an excellent 17th. After a mighty impressive run in the London Youth Games last Saturday, Rhys Edwards was probably feeling the effects of a school trip last week which entailed late nights. However, he should be commended on his 77th, and he enjoyed the experience of racing at the top level.
In the Under 15 Girls, which was another hotly contested race, Wren Jackson was not afraid to have a go with a strong start which put her in the top 25. Although she tired she should still be happy with 54th. One of these days soon Wren’s attacking running philosophy will hopefully pay off. She certainly deserves it.
Joe Geller started out in the Under 17 race over the longer distance of 5.5k. Joe would have much preferred a firmer course, and although 71st, he should take great credit as there were only 17 bottom year Under 17s ahead of him.
Our Junior track international, Canaan Solomon, tackled the Under 20 Men’s race. Like Joe, Canaan would have wished for firmer ground underfoot as a huge field of around 200 top runners contested his 6.7K race. At halfway Canaan was about 35th, but a tremendous second lap saw the track man push through to an excellent 23rd, just 1 minute behind winner Ben Dijkstra from Leicester.
So, all in all, an excellent day’s racing from our runners. Many of them enjoyed their first experience of racing at the very top level.
So now our youth teams will split forces next weekend with the Essex Champs for U13/15 clashing with the Start Fitness Met League. The Team Manager has ensured our best teams compete in the Essex Champs whilst ensuring we have adequate cover as we attempt to hold onto our overall lead and leads in four of the individual age groups.