The National Cross Country Relays at Mansfield on Saturday were illuminated by a brilliant display from the aptly named Flo Brill, and her under 13’s team mates.
Not only did the Nene Valley trio of Brill, Calypso Priestley and Katie Tasker come home in a club record equalling 11th place at an event featuring the cream of England's cross country talent, but a Nene Valley vest was leading the field in a national championship for perhaps the first time ever, as the other racers followed Brill round the first leg, competing the 2k circuit in a hugely impressive 7:17.90. This was the fastest individual time of the day amongst all the 65 under 13 girls teams.
Priestley and Tasker provided excellent support, completing their legs in 8:17.80 and 8:11.05 respectively. The 2nd string Nene Valley team also ran well, finishing within four minutes of their high flying team mates.
The Nene Valley girls were strong in all the age groups, with under the 15’s performing particularly well, and the ‘A' squad finished 16th out of 85. Amelia Monaghan, who was the sixth fastest runner on the day, received support from Josie Fortune and Amber Park.
Nene Valley also fielded a ‘B’ team which was far from disgraced coming home in 56th position.
The senior women were represented by two strong trios, with each athlete completing a full lap of the demanding 3k circuit.
The ‘A’ team of 20 year old Grace Mullins, Cat Foley-Wray and Nicky Morgan finished 33rd out of over 100 teams with the recently married Foley-Wray impressing with a 10:50.85 clocking.
The ‘B’ team also acquitted themselves well coming home 55th. Veterans Ruth Jones and Yvonne Scarrott, along with youngster Chloe Pavey all had pleasing runs. Scarrott has recently made a welcome return to The Harriers after a spell with Leicestershire outfit Harborough AC, and was delighted to have held off a late challenge from her former club in the last half of her anchor leg.
The under 17 girls had a good day with the ‘A' team finishing 24th and the ‘B’ team 40th. Megan Ellison starred, finishing the 1st leg in 17th position in what was a close fought contest between the leading 20 runners.
Predictably, the junior men's team of James McCrae, Alex Hampson and Jake Richardson put in a good performance, with 17 year old Hampson gaining 20 places on his leg, covering the 3k course in a cracking 9:14.70.
Both Nene Valley teams finished in the middle of the field in the boys under 13’s category with only 1 minute separating them. Sam Oakley ran well for the first team with a time of 7:18.10.
The under 15 boys also had a pair of talented teams. Nandeli Palembe was quickest for the ‘A’ team, and Harry Burchnell put in an excellent 1st leg for the second string trio, recording a time of 6:46.00 which was quicker than all 3 first string Nene Valley athletes
The Harriers entered 3 senior men's teams, in the only relay of the day to have four runners per club. The men's ‘A’ team comprising Joe Turner, Lloyd Kempson, Drew Warnes and Andrew Jakeman put in a predictably reliable showing, taking 49th place out of 149 finishers. The ‘B’ team placed 93rd with Sean Beard fastest on the day, whilst the ‘C’ team battled valiantly ending up 132nd. Ollie Bowling, Austen Herbert and Bradley Allen performed well for the under 17’s in a particularly strong category.
Werrington Joggers were represented in the senior races, and Jade Watson impressed running the 2st leg for the ladies in 12:12.70.
The men's team acquitted themselves well when finishing 112th, with Anthony Johnson starring with a 1st leg of 16:42.20 on the 5k course.