National Cross Country Champs at Parliament Hill. With nearly 10,000 athletes registered to run in 10 races this was a BIG race event with equally big hills!
A lovely post-match report from Deborah Steer:
A fabulous 6th position for our fantastic under 13 girls team in the Nationals
“The true heart of running” is how former winner Brendan Foster describes the National Cross Country Championships at Hampstead Heaths Parliament Hill. Everyone of the 9000 athletes pay their £8 for an afternoon of mud, unforgiving hills and a distinct lack of facilities but in return they experience the glorious London sky line and to feel proud as they line up with their club team mates for the start of this prestigious event . Where else would you rather be?
Not every athlete will be happy with their performance but I defy anyone who does not enjoy flying down the finishing hill asking themselves how many athletes can I overtake in that last 100 metres, can I hold off my local rival all of this helping them to put to the back of their minds the temporary pain they may have endured.
Many of us think of athletics as an individual sport but for our group of under 13 girls as they stood at the bottom of the first momentous hill with a 3 km race in front of them they were not simply thinking of themselves but their thoughts were also what can we do as a team on the national stage after their hugely successful winter season.
Antonia Jubb 32nd, Lily Tse 36th,Sarah McGrath 60th,Hannah Read 72nd,Sara Laitner and Florence Crowley demonstrated that a solid team of athletes and friends can make great things happen coming 6th against 51 teams from Cornwall in the south to Stockport in the north.
Our under 13 boys too work together helping each other at racing and training understanding that they stand at the beginning of a great journey learning all the way until they reach senior competitions. Adam Grimes shaking off an earlier injury scare ran well with a top 100 finish in 88th place, Alex McDonald 177 ,Matthew Nichols 275 ,Oscar Loveday and Alex Fine made up our team.
Another successful age group are our under 15 boys .
With one athlete down due to illness we still finished in the top half . With James Moore our highest individual in 25th place delighted with his debut national appearance. Robert Quigley running with renewed enthusiasm came home as our 2nd scorer closely followed by Jack Dickinson,James Allison,Alex Moffatt and Thomas Cooper .
Christy Durbin has been getting stronger with every race as she approaches the spring triathlon season and finishes as our first under 15 girl in 145th place . Niamh Gallagher ,Bea Towers and another national debutant Savannah Endean making up the team.
St Albans fielded both an under 17 and 20 women’s team . ‘I love the challenge of Parliament Hill being in such a large group of athletes and suddenly realising that I’ve overtaken one of my unbeaten Shafesbury rivals ‘ one of the team remarked. Keira Stern 58th,Eva Ilari-Barampouti 135,Jess Laitner 222 and Emily Anders 223 made up the team. With sisters Caitlin and Lauren Eckley and Freya Vafadari making up the under 20 team.