Sat 9 March 2019, Loughborough
The domestic cross-country season drew to a close with the inter-counties cross championships at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough. All of the English counties take part, including teams from the larger regional districts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
There were full age group races from u13s to the senior men and women, with Preston Harriers’ athletes represented in the majority of the various categories. Team selections are based primarily on the finishing positions in the county championships in January and known form if they were unable to take part in the Lancashire Championships.
It was the third successive year that the championships had been held at Prestwold Hall and its attractions include the large grounds with rolling hills and with some steeper ground to negotiate. Competitors had to deal with very strong and cold winds, and there were some heavy showers in the senior women’s race.
The senior men’s race over 10k saw a strong Lancashire team take part, which included three runners from Preston Harriers; Dan Bebbington, Patrick Dever and Nathan Dunn. From the start, Dever was in the leading group that eventually forged a small gap ahead of the field. Unfortunately, despite a very good run from Dever, he missed out on an individual medal, and finished 4th in 32.55, only two seconds behind 3rd place. However, a team silver medal was earned as Lancashire finished 2nd in the six man team race, with Bebbington a superb 34th in 34.51 and Dunn 39th in 34.56. The 2nd place team finish was a repeat of 2018. Lancashire also retained the trophy for being the first county to finish their nine runners in the men`s race. Patrick Dever has been selected for the British team for the World Cross Country Championships in Denmark later this month.
Ben Preddy in the u17 men`s race covering 6k finished an excellent 10th in 19.18 and Matthew Fazakerley finished 32nd in 19.51. In the u20 men’s race, a strong set of Harriers competing in this race saw Kian Davis a very good 17th in a time of 30.46 over 8k. Jak Dee-Ingham was 44th, Byron Sowerby 92nd, whilst Matias Grixti was 132nd. Another highlight, was Darcey Lonsdale being 48th in the u17 women`s race over 5k, and finishing in a time of 21.28.