Pontefract Racecourse was the setting for this years Northern Cross Country Championships. The going was good on the fairly flat yet challenging course and the weather was kind to our 26 athletes who competed.
With 107 competitors, The racing opened with the U17 ladies championships, and it was a great start over the 5k course with Grace Sullivan leading our team home in 20th position, working hard till the very end. Hot on her heels was Robyn Greenway who ran superb race to finish 22nd. Louisa Howden was next home in 61st place, nearly 40 places higher than last year despite now being bottom of the age group, the team was completed by our new member Hannah Lonsdale who ran a great race to finish in 98th position and bringing the team home in 5th place.
Next up was the U13 Girls, where we watched 208 competitors contest over the 3k course. First home was the Humberside county champion Chloe Phillips, who battled her way through to a incredible 37th position, her team mates Alice Fearne ( 113rd) and Claudia Smith ( 179th) both new to the Northern scene, put in fine performances.
A slightly longer than usual, 6.37km course faced our 4 U17 Men. Humberside County Champion Lewis Phillips was first home for the team in a fantastic 37th position, massively improving on last years position, next home was Caleb Stephenson who put in a good strong performance to finish 75th, followed by Dominic Cartwright who produced another good run to finish 133rd. Sadly our 4th athlete Jack Pritchard had to retire due to a injury.
Back to the 3k course where our 5 U13 boys battled hard against 201 competitors. First home with a fantastic first race back since out with injury was Mert Ozguger finishing in 112nd place, and right behind in 113rd was Robin Smith, who race a strong race and chased Mert all the way to the line. Not far behind them was Ben Edwards who put in another fine performance to finish 121st. Our next boy home was Jack Wright who yet again had an incredible sprint finish passing many on the last 200m to come home 170th, and Alfie Burrell, 195th, bringing our quintet home.
The U15 girls faced a course of 4k and it was our Humberside County Champion Ella Greenway, who had an incredible race. Last years winner and Cheshire County Champion Holly Weedall soon took the lead, but Ella stayed attached to the pack just behind Holly and then began to up her tempo, pulling away from the pack to finish 2nd and have 5 second lead over third place. This is a incredible achievement, and as far as I’m aware Cleethorpes AC haven’t medalled at these championships before. Huge congratulation to Ella. Next home was Katelyn Howden 126th & Charlotte Davies 160th, who both delivered good strong performances.
Our U15 boys contested the same 4k course as the girls and delivered some great results. First home in the 201 field was Matt Spendlove. Matt showed huge improvement on last years championships where he finished 141st, to this year finish in 34th place. Next home was George Gale who always delivers good solid performances to come home in 67th, followed closely by Charlie Burrell who put in a gutsy performance to finish 94th. Louie Knudsen had a great run and finished strongly battling at the end with a lad who looked twice the size of him! Will ( role model) Parker brought our boys team home having another good run and his own ongoing battle with another lad from a local club.
Lastly our two senior men took to the 12k course along with 702 others! First home, running a great race and finishing in a very respectable 19th place was Nick Martin, followed by Danny James finishing in 241st, who found the race fast, yet deceptively tough at times.
Well done to all of you, your team spirit and comradery shone through once again, making a very enjoyable day. You did your club and coach proud.
Many Thanks to all the volunteers at Northern Athletics who delivered a superb championships.
Photo’s by Graham Stephenson