Sat 23 Feb 2019, Harewood House, Leeds
Nathan Dunn was amongst the medals again last week, as he finished 2nd in an exciting under 20 men’s race over what was advertised as a 10k distance at the National Cross Country Championships at Harewood House, Leeds. Three runners managed to break away and keep just ahead of the rest of the field after the first lap. As at the Northern championships in January, Rory Leonard of Morpeth took the win in 28.27, with Nathan Dunn recording 28.38. The U20 men’s team, which also included Kian Davis (22nd), Jack Dee-Ingham (72nd) and Byron Sowerby (87th) were the 6th placed team.

It was an glorious sunny day with well above average temperatures, and with the course being very dry grass on undulating parkland, it certainly wasn’t the muddy and sticky venue that was used last year for the Northern championships. In fact, sun cream was needed! With the ground being quite hard, it tended to suit wearing road shoes for a number of competitors as opposed to cross country spikes. For many though and of whatever running pace, and the national championships are inclusive and for all, there was an overall tendency to run too hard early on in all the races and then pay for it in the heat and on the longer courses seen at a major championship.

In the senior women`s race, over an 8k distance, there were 1,034 finishers. Eleanor Davis had a tremendous outing, finishing 9th in 29.30 and this after her excellent time of 72.44 at the Barcelona half marathon a few weeks ago. This was another quick race, which was won by Emily Hosker-Thornhill of Aldershot in 28.17. Jenny Wren was 308th, Emma Essex-Crosby 610th, Vicki Sherrington 708th, Olga Wiggins 952nd and Sue Wickham 997th The senior men`s race had an even bigger field and there were 2,006 finishers. The start was a sight to behold as runners surged away trying to avoid initial bottlenecks. There was a sprint finish, with Mahamed Mahamed of Southampton, edging out Emile Cairess (Leeds AC) by one second over 12k. Dan Bebbington ran a good race, finishing 36th in 38.38. With Richard Smith in 392nd, Wes Wilkinson 497th, Simon Collins 597th, Andy Whaley 685th, Lee Foley 744th, Chris Wales 994th, Simon Robinson 1,129th, Kevin Hesketh 1,270th and Neil McDonald 1,324th, the team had finished nine counters for the first time in a while and were placed 31st.

Ben Preddy had a super run too, over 6k in the u17 mens race, finishing 24th in 19.46. Not far behind was Matthew Fazackerley in 33rd and Jack Campy was 78th. In some of the earlier events, George Denye in the u13 boys over 3k, finished 66th. He was joined by William Moorhouse (205th) and Jenson Warren (210th) with there being 408 finishers. The u15 boys saw Tom Durney and Thomas Barnes finish together, in 68th & 69th respectively. Vladimir Wiggins, who only just made the start line after a dash from a busy car park, was 309th and 346 ran. The u15 girls competed over 4k, and Jessica Watson placed 103rd and Scarlett Sutton 180th.