Saturday 26th February 2017 –┬áSaucony English National Cross Country at Wollaton Park in Nottingham (u13G @ 12:15)

Turns out to be a huge race… a bigger and muddier event that we expected! Lily went on the coach with the St Albans Athletics Club team and we waited at home for Facebook posts!

Finished 57 out of 467 runners! Well done Lily x


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Deborah’s post-race report:

It’s National time again and they leave the best till last !

What a fantastic race to take part in- impeccable organisations , well laid out courses, massive refreshment tent and mud plenty of it. With clubs from all over the country from places you didn’t even know existed. Every single one of our runners did themselves and us proud.

A prompt get away from St Albans of the team coach meant we had plenty of time for team bonding and arrived at the venue in time for a whole team photo and find a perfect pitch for our now famous easy to spot Club tent.

The under 17 women were the first to test the course and although one short of a full team SophieOlney, Hannah Rayden and Freya Weddell all enjoyed the course which although had a couple of very interested sections of deep mud, was slightly less challenging than some courses we have encountered this season. With sections which were conducive to faster running.
Scott Brice was delighted to be able to compete in the Nationals this year in the under 15 boys and gave me perhaps the quote of the day. ‘ I’m so excited to be running my only disappointment is I only get to do one lap ‘
The under 20 women some of the most dedicated made a comment on social media to say ‘ the end of an era’ to be quickly corrected by the coaching team ‘ but it’s only just began – seniors is where it all begins’
They all battled through the 6km race showing that they have all achieved so much . It is especially hard going through the age groups and I think every one of them would have easily stopped running a few years ago but they have pulled together showing the importance of team work. I am sure they are all really pleased with themselves and that perseverance really does pay off. They can go forward into university athletics and senior competitions. Alex Bentley was first home followed by Juliet Merelie,Georgia Robin ,Freya Vafadari and Jess Barnes the team finished in 17th place.
Our highest finishing team came next in the under 13 girls . Still with plenty to learn as they stood on the packed start line spread over nearly 100 metres, the girls on their debut National XC were not intimidated and appear to take the race in their stride as they elbowed to get the best start possible up the long gentle hill of the starting 200 metres.
Lily Tse and Antonia Jubb ran most of the race together and finished in 57th and 58th in 14.21 and 14.22 for the 3km race. Similarly Sara Laitner and Orla Foley were together at some parts of the race which can help especially in harder sections. The team were 21st /52 which is very encouraging as they all have another year in this age group.
Another full team in the under 17 men saw us finish in 21st place. First home on his debut for the 2016/17 season was Callum Walsh who like his other team mates demonstrated how superbly they cleared the ditch and mud section of the course (perhaps we will have a great steeplechase team this coming track season) the team was completed by Jed Lumb,Cameron Clark and Will Bowran. We are especially excited with this age group as they have all had great XC seasons setting them up for pb’s on the track?.
Keira Stern finished in 40 th place in the under 15’s being out highest placed individual even with a fall in the mud . She didn’t panic she just jumped up very’ Mo’ like and pushed her way through. The team was completed with Niamh Gallagher, Eva, Christy ,Bea,Sophie and Emily and finished the team competition in 19th place out of 39 teams.
We only managed to field 3 under 13 boys unfortunately but with a strong under 11 team this will hopefully be rectified for the 2018 champs. Sam Hicks powered through the field followed by Robert and Tommy. A lovely trio of athletes who will hopefully help each other through the age groups.
Hannah hull and carol jack were are two senior women who were the only race to encounter rain.

We have several young athletes who have been selected to race for Hertfordshire next month and we also have our end of XC season presentation social to look forward to on Thursday 23rd March.
Well done all and special thanks to all our helpers. Especially Fiona who this year have taken over all the entries .