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South Of England XC Relays at Wormwood Scrubs: U15 boys 6th

Well after avoiding a deluge of rain earlier in the day the boys were glad to see the sun shining, although the course was a tad muddy and wet in some places following the recent rain.

This marked the welcome return of Essex Under 15 boys 1500m champion Luka Norden, making a start back although nowhere fully fit after being out for nearly two months with a heel injury.

L to R: Harry Stockill, Daniel Arnold, Luka Norden (photo: Melanie Arnold)

Harry Stockill started the ball rolling for the Woodies alongside 38 other athletes. Harry was confident of giving WGEL a good start after two fine runs in recent weeks. The course was a 2k circuit. After around 800 metres our man was at the helm with Jelffs (St Mary’s) and McLaren (Havering) not too far behind him. Coming out of the wooded area, Jellfs had taken over, hotly pursued by McLaren and Harry. On the run-in the gaps remained the same, with Harry trying to peg back the English Schools 800m champion, McLaren. Harry ran the course in 6 mins 26 secs, and only three runners from the 100 that contested the relay were faster than him.

On leg two Daniel Arnold, a bottom year U15 lad, took over from Harry. Daniel ran his own race brilliantly and maintained 3rd spot. Up front Havering took over from St Mary’s. Daniel's time was an excellent 6 mins 51 secs. Daniel's main aim this season is to make the English Schools XC at Pontefract next year, as he is top year for the schools races.

So Luka made his return after nearly eight weeks of no land training at all although he did some work in the pool to try and maintain some fitness. We can’t wait to have him back in full flight, but today was about getting around a 2k course with no kickback to his heel (we can now report all is well after yesterday). Luka trotted round in 7 mins 01 secs and, although slipping a couple of places, everyone just wanted him to get round in one piece. Great credit to him and to the other two lads sportingly encouraging him so well.

So 6th from 39 starting teams was a great result and if we can get Luke back (I’m sure we will) the team, with the addition of Oscar Eaton (4th in U15 boys Met League last Saturday), will have a lot to look forward to after Xmas. The Team Manager is targeting the championship races in the new year where they could spring a great surprise to us all.

A really enjoyable day in the sunshine at the Scrubs.