UK under-17 1500m record-holder takes senior boys’ win at Cross Country Championships in Derbyshire
A busy period of racing for the country’s top school-age cross-country runners continued at Walton on Trent in Derbyshire on Saturday with what for most will have been the highlight of the season.
The championships, which have been the launchpad for many great careers such as those of Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe and Alistair Brownlee, came at the end of a four-week period which included the Southern Championships, National and Inter-Counties. However, the youngsters showed no signs of tiredness as they competed for the prestigious titles on a boggy course.
As usual, schools age groups differing from the usual categories made it easier for newer names to find prominence. Those going home victorious were Matt Shirling, Zak Miller, Ben Dijkstra, Rebecca Murray, Annabel Mason and Katy Whiteoak.
Shirling was among those who competed at the Inter-Counties last week and he improved on his second place there after taking the lead with 500m to go. The UK under-17 1500m record-holder showed he had strength as well as pace as he went away from Charlie Joslin-Allen (second) and Alex Carter (third).
Meanwhile, improving on her silver medal from last year’s English Schools 3000m on the track was Rebecca Murray. She finished four seconds ahead of Victoria Kenny, as last year’s Inter-Counties under-17 champion, Amy Griffiths, was third.
In the intermediate race, Greater Manchester champion Zac Miller prevailed by five seconds over Patrick Dever, who was followed by Elliot Bowker.
One week after finishing seventh at the Inter-Counties and narrowly missing out on a place in Britain’s World Cross squad, Annabel Mason added to her National under-17 title, crossing the line three seconds ahead of Harriet Knowles-Jones. Bronwen Owen was third.
Ben Dijkstra pulled away from a large leading group on the last lap to win by 11 seconds from Tom Dodd. Hugo Milner took third.
Katy Whiteoak improved from 51st last year to take the junior girls’ title. Six seconds behind was Katy-Ann McDonald, who won the Inter-Counties under-13 gold last week. Lucy Jones placed third.
Senior: 1 M Shirling; 2 C Joslin-Allen; 3 A Carter
Inter: 1 Z Miller; 2 P Dever; 3 E Bowler
Junior: 1 B Dijkstra; 2 T Dodd; 3 H Milner
Senior: 1 R Murray; 2 V Kenny; 3 A Griffiths
Inter: 1 A Mason; 2 H Knowles-Jones; 3 B Onwen
Junior: 1 K Whiteoak; 2 KA McDonald; 3 L Jones
» Further English Schools Cross Country Championships results, together with an in-depth report, will be included in next week’s AW, out March 21. See the ESAA website for full results