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UK Cross Challenge, Sefton Park, Liverpool

14 young athletes travelled to Liverpool to taste top opposition on a fast course with cloudy skies but little wind throughout the morning. It was probably our best set of results as we had three athletes in the top 10 plus another four inside the top 35. Starting fields were around 140 in each race.

Under 11 Girls

Isabelle Kyson started out in the top ten in her 2k race. As the race progressed the lead was changing hands quite a bit with our athlete always in the top four. With 200 metres to run, Isabelle made her charge and overtook the girl in second place and was closing down the leader to lose out in a brilliant 2nd place, just three seconds behind the winner.

Autumn Le Chavelier, the Harlow Primary Year 3 Schools XC champion, had a fine race too. Not going out too fast, she improved her position throughout the closing stages for an excellent 26th from 160 starters, which was a fine performance from probably the youngest competitor in the field, having turned 9 just a month ago.

Under 13 Girls

We had three girls in this race from 140 starters. Abigail Reid got out well in the early part of the race and was sharing the lead with Isla Thorne from Scotland. Isla had recently run 18 mins 30 secs for 5k, but this did not deter our athlete from taking the lead during the back part of the course. With 400 metres remaining Thorne had drawn back level. It was at this point that the Scot made a break which took her to the line in first place. Abigail was then in a three-way battle for the minor two medals and our athlete was the unlucky one to lose out, in 4th spot, just 12 seconds behind the winner. Abigail should take great credit for a fine run given that she has another year in that age group. Molly Sherrin, who medalled last year, stepped up and should feel really happy with 33rd, just a minute behind the winner. Larna Morgan, who had a nasty virus recently, should also be happy with 64th, but our tenacious youngster still needs time and encouragement to get over this completely and this was another step along the road to full recovery.

Under 13 Boys

We had four athletes in this race over 3k, as in the Under 13 girls. This race proved to be the most exciting as Morris and Rapjohns fought out a fierce battle for two amazing times over 3k. Jimmy Geller had another fine run for 9th spot, always in the front group behind the first three lads. Jimmy ran 40 seconds faster than last year. Nathan Wright also had a fine run for 17th. Evan Johnson, now coming back to his best, was 30th, with Sid Cody, so reliable, in 51st spot. This was a fine overall showing from our lads.

Under 15 Girls

We had two runners in this. Miya Maeda, a bottom year runner, was 53rd from 140 starters and should feel satisfied with this run as she was only 80 seconds behind the winner. Hollie McArdell also stuck to the task in fine style for 83rd, just 30 seconds adrift of Miya.

Under 17 Women

Wren McLean-Jackson had a fine run in what must be considered a tough field in the upper age groups. Wren's 48th in 17 mins 23 secs for the 4.4k course was a great effort as this was worth sub-20 minutes for 5K.

Under 17 Men

Again, like the Under 17 Women, this was such a competitive, top class field with both our lads, Kai Boggon and Kieran Allgood, bottom year runners. They placed 66th and 72nd and their times for the 5.5K course were worth sub17 mins 20 secs for 5k.

Our three Under 17s should be hugely praised as they are trying to fit their training around their GCSE studies, which they must be commended for.

So a great day was had by all as the weather was kind to us. Our runners now have the Met League to look forward to at Uxbridge next Saturday, while eight of our Under 13s compete in the Under 13 Boys and Girls Essex Champs at Colchester on the same day, where individual and team medals are up for grabs, as are selections for the UK Inter Counties in March next year.

Seven athletes have been selected for Essex/Herts for the South Of England Inter Counties at Oxford on 8th December.

Jimmy Geller, Kai Boggon, Kezia Beeton and Abigail Reid have been selected for Essex. Tilly Major, and Ben and Sam Sloan have been selected for Hertfordshire. Evan Johnson (Herts) and Nathan Wright (Essex) are named reserves.