After a lot of rain in the days leading up to this event, it left the course very muddy so heavy going was the order of the day for our young athletes.
The Inter Boys event over 6k had six of our members racing. Joe Geller and Kai Boggon got a good start and at the halfway point at 3k they shared the lead with Leon Wheeler and Jack Stock. The group stuck together going into the 2nd lap until triathlete Jack Stock made a break, splitting the group up. Although Jack went on to win with Leon Wheeler close behind in 2nd, our lads both had great runs. Joe, claiming his first All England Schools vest for Essex, was just 11 seconds behind the winner, while Kai was 4th, 17 seconds down on Joe, and he should be very happy with his run as he was the first bottom year to finsh.
Kieran Allgood was closing fast at the end and just missed out on an automatic selection in 7th place. The first six were selected for the English Schools, with the top 20 representing Essex at an Inter County match at Newbury in February. The final two slots for the All England will be selected from this race. Rhys Edwards gained another County vest with 18th, following a swift second lap in which he passed at least a dozen runners. 800 metre specialist Sidnie Ward used this as a training run but stuck to the task for 29th, with Liam Waldron running well for 31st. Apart from Joe, all our lads are bottom year Inter Boys.
Our West Essex Schools Champion, Ellen Savidge, toed the line for the Junior Girls race. In a big field, Ellen got away well and was around 25th in the middle part of the race. Ellen, who is now enjoying going to Trent Park on Sundays with Richard Thurston, stepped up the pace and finished in 20th place to gain selection for Essex Schools at Newbury next month.
Ellen will be joined there by Inter Girl Siena Taylor, who had a great run for 11th place in her race.
In the Junior Boys, Brandon Baldacci placed 26th and was only seconds away from gaining his first Essex vest. William Clifton placed 42nd in the same race.
So Joe and Kai will take part in the English Schools at Leeds on 17th March and will be joined by Siena, Kieran, Rhys and Ellen at the South East of England Schools Inter Counties on 3rd February at Newbury, Berkshire.
At the London Indoor Games at Lee Valley, Jimmy Geller (photo below by James Geller) had another win and solo effort of 2 mins 21.2 secs in the Under 13 boys 800 metres. He remains Number 1 in the UK for this event in his age group. Nathan Wright was 4th overall in 2 mins 33 secs.
In the Under 15 girls 800m, Zahara Malcolm took 7 seconds off her PB for 2 mins 20.44 secs, placing 2nd overall. This ranks her 2nd in the UK.
On Friday in Suffolk, Georgina Handford scored a fine victory in the ISA East Region Under 16s cross country.