Nine of our young athletes were selected to represent Essex/Hertfordshire in this annual event. Unfortunately Evan Johnson (Under 15 Boys) and Ben Sloan (Under 17 Men) were unable to run for Hertfordshire as they are both out injured. We are hopeful that both lads will be back in the New Year.
After recent rain the majority of this course was quite muddy making it a true test of endurance. At least the rain held off for the races and the wind was much kinder this year compared to 2018.
Abigail Reid: won by 9 seconds (pics: Sally Chapman)
In the first race we had Abigail Reid and Molly Sherrin (debut) both running for Essex with Tilly Major running for Hertfordshire. The field of over 100 runners got off to a quick start with Lilly Slack of Kent leading with Abigail tucking in just off the shoulder of the Tonbridge athlete. Tilly and Molly also got away really well. Going through the wooded parts of the course Abigail stuck to the advice given by her coaches and stayed in second spot with Slack still forcing the pace. Tilly was in 8th spot whilst Molly, who gave everything, was around the 50 mark. Coming out of the woods Abigail took over with this time Tabitha Brown from Surrey leading the chase. As the runners turned into the last 200 metres the chasing pack were left way behind as Abigail produced a great finish to be crowned champion with 9 seconds to spare over the Surrey runner.
Only twenty seconds behind and leading home the Hertfordshire team was Tilly Major (photo right) with an excellent 8th place. Molly was 6th scorer for Essex and this was her first race for Essex and against the best in the South she should feel happy with 53rd. Molly will have next year to improve on this as she has another year at Under 13 level.
Kezia Beeton was our sole representative in the Under 15 girls race, with again over 100 runners on the start line. Kezia was one of four Essex girls to get away well with Jayne Elvin of Essex forcing the early pace. Kezia worked tremendously hard through the middle part of the race to come out in the final 600 metres just inside the top 30. But Kezia was not yet done as a tremendous finish saw her place 24th, just over 40 seconds behind the winner from Oxfordshire. Kezia was 4th scorer for Essex, who placed 4th, just two points off bronze. This run was a massive improvement for Kezia who was 70th in the Under 13 girls race last year. She has adapted to her new distance of 4K with great pride.
In the Under 15 boys we had two starters - Danny Raymond and Jacob Hardy, both running for Essex. The mudbound conditions were not ideal for our boys as they are both proven track runners who both ranked in the top 20 in the UK last summer for their respective events. Having said that, they are not afraid to mix it with the best in the South, with Danny 48th and Jacob 55th at the end with both our lads providing strong finishes.
In the Under 17 Men’s race over 5k Sam Sloan was our sole runner, representing Hertfordshire. It was another close race all the way through the field and it was great to see Mohamed Ali from Middlesex back to winning ways again. Sam was 4th scorer for Hertfordshire in 53rd and he should be happy with 53rd running 17 mins 01 for a muddy 5k.