Saturday 18th March saw the English Schools Cross Country Championships returning to Norfolk for the third time. This year’s event was held at the Norfolk Showground, with CoNAC members performing key roles in the organisation of this high profile event. With 46 counties or teams taking part, this is indeed a prestigious event to host.
The racing was led off at 12:30pm by the Intermediate Girls with a composite Norfolk team comprising of 7 CoNAC athletes and one Dereham Runner. Norfolk Schools and Norfolk XC champion, Nelly Porter, led the team from the pen in a fast run up the slope on their 3,750m course. Despite suffering from a nasty cold last weekend, Nelly maintained her lead in the team to finish, to record a fine 32nd position.
Second home, despite the disadvantage of a 6th place in the starting pen, a fast finishing Meredith Winship moved through the pack to record a 71st place finish, followed home by an improving Ellie Taylor in 100th position. Rachel Bruce and training partner Lucy Emmett were close behind with 130th and 157th finishes. Katie Goldsmith finished in 180th place with late replacements Ellie Foster (Dereham Runners) and (returning from injury) Naryce Anderson finishing with 252nd and 321st position; providing the team with an excellent 15th team result, the best Norfolk team result of the day.
Next to toe the line were the Junior Boys. This team saw just one CoNAC athlete competing. As usual, Danny Adams started fast and ran hard to record a fine 172nd place finish, with surely better to come in the same age group in 2018 for this first year athlete. The Junior Boys were placed 36th team.
The Junior Girls saw the CoNAC participation increasing again, with club runners making up 5 of the 8 places. Kate Willis put an injury sustained at school on Thursday firmly behind her to record a superb 15th position finish (the highest place finish by any Norfolk athlete on the day) Not to be outdone, training partner and first year athlete Grace Jermy was unperturbed by her 5th place in the starting pen, moving through the field to another fine finish in 103rd position. Grace Forster put in another good performance, despite some missed training due to illness, finishing 172nd just ahead of team mate Holly Bunn in 175th with Emma Ledward delighted with her first English Schools event in 263rd. The team were rewarded with a promising 17th overall position.
CoNAC athletes formed a bulk of the Senior Girls team with first runner home being our own Millie Solway in 120th position. Alice Rees put in a fine run to record 166th place with team mate Amy Clarke close behind in 192nd. Imogen Crossland returned to Cross Country after a break, finishing 259th and providing the team with 33rd place.
The penultimate race of the championships saw the Intermediate boys starting as the rain began to get heavier. Undaunted by the worsening conditions, the four CoNAC athletes in the team acquitted themselves well. Jack White continued his fine form this season, with another strong run resulting in a fine 40th place finish. Close behind (despite some mid race argie-bargie) was improving first year athlete, Will Mahoney in 59th position. Ed Cator was the third finisher in 183rd position, with first year athlete Rhys Foyster competing at the longer 6K distance for the first time, finishing in 235th position. The team finished in a creditable 22nd place.
The Norfolk Girls team finished 4th Minor County overall.
The final race of the day saw the Senior Boys taking on the 7.2K course under threatening skies. With one CoNAC athlete in the team, Alexander Hunt improved on his Norfolk Schools position within the team, taking 266th position. The team finished in 39th place overall.
Well done to all CoNAC athletes in representing their county in 2016-17. The 2018 Championships sees a return to Temple Newsam Park, Leeds on Saturday 17th March.