9 bleary-eyed young athletes found themselves leaving in the dark and the rain on Saturday morning to make the 8:30 meet at Hillyfields, Colchester, to run in the U13/U15 Cross Country Championships. However, our team was in great spirits walking round the course, finding it dry underfoot, albeit a little taken aback with the impressive hill they had to climb.
Golden Boys! L to R: Fabian, Wright, Gormley, Geller (pic: Mark Wright)
The U13 boys team were up first. 4 boys toed the line at the start of the 3000m course. After a lap of the small field, our runners faced a 1000m shallow climb, and by the peak of this first climb, almost halfway, a pack of six formed with Jimmy Geller and Nathan Wright in the mix with Luca Gormley hanging off the back and Reuben Fabian about ten seconds further back. The course then dropped down sharply through a wooded section before coming back up very steep climb which broke the lead pack up leaving for the 600m run home. Jimmy was first Woodie home in 4th, missing a medal by a whisker. Nathan scored next for 6th, Luca made 7th and Reuben, who had a great sprint for 10th. Such was the packing of the green and white hoops our boys knew instantly they had won gold.
Bronze team medals: Beeton, Reid, Kelly, Morgan (pic: Nicola Morgan)
No sooner than we had finished cheering the boys in than our U13 girls were off, running the same 3000m course. Abigail Reid took an early lead, with Chelmsford girls packing a lot of the top places in the first half of the race. At the top of the steep climb Abigail was seen coming out of the woods protecting her lead with 600m to go and she ran on to take gold. Kezia Beeton came out next in 4th and worked really hard to run through the pack and finally made 3rd, very pleased to medal. Our next Woodette to score was Rosemary Kelly, a bottom year runner who ran really well to place 10th and, closing the team, Larna Morgan made 23rd - a great run as she had been recovering from illness. After a lot of numerical speculation and a tense wait for the results, 3rd place was confirmed.
Finally, our lone U15 boy, Jacob Hardy, running bottom year, took on the 4000m boys race with an attacking spirit. In his race it was 2k to run before attacking the big hill, which he had made in 8. Though the hill took its toll and he lost a couple of places, he regained them to finish off a fine run in 8th.
This fixture allows qualification for an Essex vest at the UK Inter-Counties in March 2019 at Prestwold hall, and Abigail, Kezia, Jimmy and Nathan received their invite from the Essex Team Managers on the day.