Jessica Sparke bronze at European CC

Jessica Sparke won an impressive bronze medal at the European Cross-Country Championships in Dublin.

From the UKA website:

The women’s under 23 team, who looked strong on paper coming into the championships, translated that expectation into a team gold medal on the muddy course in the Irish capital, with all six girls through the tape in the top 20 and four in the top ten.

The win was a distant dream for those who chased eventual gold medal winner Sultan Haydar of Turkey, who got an early lead and held onto it with impressive form, but second and third place were very much up for grabs and it was Jessica Sparke (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) who took full advantage, powering home to take individual bronze.

Sparke said “I’m so happy and so pleased. I just aimed to go off and be in the first group and work my way through. I was hoping I would get an individual medal but the aim was to just be as high up as possible. It didn’t seem that quick, I had a cold at the beginning of the week and I wasn’t able to train but I don’t think it was a bad thing because I felt quite fresh. It was amazing to be on the podium, I’ve always wanted that! I’m so pleased.”

Sparke was followed in quick succession by Charlotte Browning (AFD) and Hollie Rowland (City of Norwich) in fourth and fifth place respectively, with Stevie Stockton (Vale Royal AC), the fourth scoring athlete, in 10th and three times junior women’s champion Stephanie Twell (AFD) in eleventh place.

Essex Vets CC 2009

An excellent day's racing in the Essex Vets CC Championship at Hainault Forest saw Alan Rugg and Bernie Pritchett win individual bronze medals, while a very strong men's M50 squad won both team gold and team bronze.The 2 races (first, M50, M60 & M70 along with W35, W45 and W55; then M40) were run on a course most of which was new even to local runners of many years' experience, and which most judged to have been very enjoyable - being run almost entirely in the forest - and an excellent test. After an initial half-mile of boggy terrain, the 2 lap circuit dropped down a long, firm, serpentining trail before crossing a brook and rising up to the top again in 2 stages and winding through flattish forest back to the start.



Young athletes at Met League 3

The conditions were windy but dry with parts of the course a little muddy after recent rain.

In the Under 13 girls we had only one runner, however Amelia Barrett performed brilliantly in placing 2nd in 14 mins 25 secs, just failing to catch the winner Rebecca Killip who had won the first two races. Rebecca was just 10 yards up in 14 mins 22 secs.

We did however field two guest runners, Sky Mullvey 11 years old, placing a fine 13th in 16 mins 18 secs and Alicia McArdell 20th in 17 mins 59 secs. It is hoped these two will join WG&EL in the weeks to come. Great credit should go to Amelia who helped the girls warm up and helped them both at the finish.

In the Under 13 boys race Daniel Rowden had a fine run to place 6th over the same course, his time being 13 mins 53 secs, just half a minute behind the winner. Perry Rowan ran well to place 17th in 14 mins 16 secs in his first outing for the club.

Woodford placed 5th in both these age groups.

In the Under 15/17 combined race for boys Liam Blaikie produced another excellent performance amongst strong opposition, placing 4th in 14 mins 29secs, just 25 secs behind the winner Grant from Shaftesbury Barnet. James Stockings maintained his excellent form this winter with a fine 11th in 14 mins 49 secs. Ryan Dunne, having been unwell the previous weekend, rallied well to place a gutsy 28th in 15 mins 42 secs. Sam Benge, in his first outing for Woodford, was 43rd in 16 mins 43 secs. Sean Kenny placed 49th in 17 mins 16 secs and Sam Robinson 60th in 20 mins 27. Woodford placed 5th in this age group.

In the Under 15/17 Women's race over the same distance as the boys, Claudia Conway had a very good run over the country to place 9th in 17 mins 59 secs. The ever reliable Georgina Ferrari (12th in 18 mins 10 secs) and Amy Doyle (15th in 18 mins 13 secs) were hot on Claudia's heels. With Holly Bedeau also running well to place 17th in 18 mins 42 secs the club had a fine placing of 2nd in this age group. Lauren Freeman had her best placing with 28th in 20 mins 8 secs and a very welcome return of Joanne Cywinski 30th in 20 mins 30 secs with Stephanie Smith reliable as ever 31st in 20 mins 38 secs.

All in all a good day with our youngsters and I (John Stowe) would like to thank Paul Stockings and Don Blackett in helping me out on the day

European CC Trials, Liverpool

Update: on Tuesday Jess Sparke was named in a strong GB U23 Women's team to compete in the European CC Championships.

A number of our athletes featured in the European CC Trials race at Liverpool on Saturday. 21-year old Jess Sparke ran the best race of her career to date to finish a marvellous 3rd overall in the Senior Women/U23 Women's race, which apparently leaves her with the option of running either for the Seniors or the U23s in the European CC Championships in Dublin on 13th December.


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