Here's Ruth Jones' report from the Saturday's National XC Champs:
Thousands of athletes from across England flocked to Wollaton Park, Nottingham on Saturday (Feb 22) for the National Cross Country Championships, including scores of Nene Valley Harriers determined to make the trip a successful one.
Charlotte Taylor, the reigning U20 World Triathlon champion, came 11th in the junior women’s race in one of her strongest ever races. Taylor was pushing for a top three position until the hills and mud took their toll on the final lap of the challenging course, crossing the line less than a minute behind the third placed athlete in 22.56.
Alex Hampson also had a storming performance in the U17 boys’ race, coming 32nd out of a field of 272 in 20.55. At just 15-years old, Hampson is still at the bottom of his age group, further underlying how impressive his run was in the biggest cross country competition of the year so far.
Hampson was followed in by James McCrae (95th in 22.03), Cameron Marshall (125th in 22.26) and Bradley Spurdens (178th in 23.24) to complete the team and come 11th overall. Another result of note came from Jake Richardson in 43rd position in 21.15. The race marked his last outing for his old club, Grantham AC, before swapping his vest for the white, red and blue colours of NVH.
Another age group to complete a team was the U15 boys, led in by Austin Herbert in a credible 103rd position in 15.45, closely followed by Oliver Bowling (124th in 15.55), Will Baker (139th in 16.05), and Nathanial Taylor (221st in 16.59).
Emily Brand followed up her top 100 result from the Southern Cross Country Championships with an excellent 134th in the U17 girls’ race. Crossing the line in 22.32, she was just one minute off another top 100 performance. Annie Gray (184th in 24.49), Amy Gibbon (188th in 25.13) and Leigh Ann Rose (199th in 26.01) ensured the Harriers closed another strong team.
Matt Green headed up the senior men’s team in 489th place, covering the 12km distance in 44.59, with good support from Sean Beard in 569th (46.01), James McDonald in 817th (48.42) and Nigel Dickens in 1482nd (59.40).
Megan Ellison showed great improvement when finishing 120th in the U15 girls’ race in 17.55, with team mate Imogen Woodard also fighting hard for her position in 283rd (20.29).
The youngsters in the U13 boys and girls did their best in their 3k races, but found it tough going over such a short distance. Amber Park was first in for the club in 185th (13.59), and Kelsi Ellis (226th in 14.15), Josephine Fortune (236th in 14.20) and Ellie Piccaver (303rd in 14.46) did well to make up the team. Keilin Spurdens was 172nd in 12.53 in the boys’ race, closely followed by Harry Burchnell (190th in 13.00), Ollie Smith (227th in 13.15) and Ollie Oakley (231st in 13.17).
Other NVH performances
U17 boys: Kurt Smyth (188th in 23.33), Dan Corrigan (252nd in 25.35)
U15 boys: Bradley Allen (308th in 18.22), Edwin Flack (313th in 18.29)
U13 girls: Paula Naylor (380th in 15.28), Libby Burchnell (430th in 20.51)
U13 boys: Ethan Ellison (264th in 13.26), Charlie Bamford (296th in 13.51)