We had seven of our athletes competing at the biggest event of the year … This is a great achievement in itself to qualify for these championships. The conditions were true to cross country very windy / raining heavy and extremely muddy. The course was also challenging with some very steep climbs and sharp turns.
Junior Boys – First year Zak Ferguson who has had a up and down season was determined to run well here and hopefully book his place on the team for the mini marathon. Getting caught up at the mad start Zak stuck to his task and worked hard finishing a very creditable 91st place. The first South Yorkshire runner home and 5th Yorkshire runner is hopefully enough to book his place at the London mini marathon. Well done Zak a great effort keep working hard and bring on that track season. Jamie Rhodes who had been training well the last 4 weeks took ill 10 days ago and couldn’t train and was tempted to not run but decided to give it ago. Great effort Jamie 292nd place out of the 343 runners that finished.
Junior Girls – Annie Naylor who had a great start to the cross country season but then took ill in January and missed some important races and a good chunk of training. Annie has really knuckled down the last 4 weeks and has been training really well so we knew she had a great chance here of mixing it with the countries best runners. We had a plan and Annie stuck exactly to it. Working her way through the field and with 400 metres to go had a great chance of finishing in the top 8 and gaining her first England vest. 200 metres to go and Annie really put her foot down passing a few runners guaranteeing her first England vest coming home in an excellent 7th place. Annie was given the same time as 6th place and only 10 seconds away from a Bronze medal. What an achievement. First year Rebecca Evans didn’t know what to expect here with it been her first English Schools. Advice from Emily Simpson Rebecca stuck to the advice given and had a superb run finishing in 100th out of the 353 runners. Watch out for this girl when the track season comes around. Polly Platts again had an outstanding run working hard throughout the course. Polly had raced here last year (230th) so knew what to expect. Polly improved her position from last year by over 100 places finishing a superb 123rd. Well done girls excellent running. The girls were also part of the winning team that had all 8 runners home first.
Inter Girls – Esther Rowe-Towle has had an outstanding season finishing 1st at the Yorkshire, 2nd at the Northerns and 4th at the UK Inter Counties so was in with a great chance here. We knew it would be a tough ask today as the course was much shorter than the previous races so Esther would have to go of much harder today. Sticking to the task she did exactly this. Esther was in the top 6 for most of the race but faded slightly in the final 200 metres coming home in 9th place only 10 seconds away from 4th place. Esther was disappointed afterwards but I am sure she will look back at the 2019 cross country season in a few days and be very happy with herself. The run has earned Esther a place on the England relay team to compete next weekend in Ireland. Well done Esther an amazing Cross Country season and well done on your first England vest. Bring on the track season where Esther is excited to work on her speed and see how fast she can go over 1500/300 metres.
Senior Girls – Cyane Robinson was determined here to do well in her last English Schools Championships. All of you that know Cyane well will know what she has had to cope with over the last few months and I assure you most people wouldn’t be running. After a solid performance last week at the UK Inter Counties we decided to go of a little harder today. Getting blocked a little at the start and after the first lap Cyane was just inside the top 20. Running an extremely strong second part of the race Cyane worked her way through the field to finish a superb 10th place out of the 315 runners and only 12 seconds behind 6th place. This is an amazing performance and for me was the best performance of the day from a Team Russell athlete. Well done Cyane now lets get ready for that track season.