Great experience gained at National Cross Country – 25/02/2023

This weekend saw 9 junior endurance athletes competing at the English National Cross Country Championships at Bolesworth Castle in Chester.

The championships had in excess of 5500 athletes racing from under 13 age category all the way through to Seniors.  For some of our athletes this was their first major championships, but they all took it in their stride.

Mixing things up for a change, Ella Hughes U17W, was the first race of the day for the Jersey team.  Hughes was expecting to run 5k and stood on the start line with 201 other athletes.  It was a fast start for the U17W and Hughes settled comfortably into the two lap race.  Hughes finished in 141st place in 22.03.

Following immediately was the U15B race.  Jersey Spartan had three athletes entered, Rory Baines, Herbie Buchholz and Ralph Depledge – all of which were running as second year athletes.  One large lap of 4K was ahead of them as they joined the start line alongside 286 athletes.  Baines soon came into view again and looked strong as he came down the finishing stretch in 16th place (15.23), followed shortly afterwards by Buchholz in 179th (17.17) and Depledge in 217th (17.40).

We had a small break before the U17M team took to the start line. First year athletes, George and Edward Carney and Bradley Andrews-Callec stood alongside Casper Whitewood as a second year athlete.  243 other athletes stood with them, the only Jersey team at this years event.  The athletes expected to run 6.25k, one long lap and one smaller lap.  The pace was set every early on and the athletes all looked comfortable after the first lap.  They soon appeared again on the finishing stretch with Andrews-Callec leading the Jersey team in 40th (22.31), E Carney 48th (22.37) G Carney 78th (23.14) and Whitewood 163rd (24.59).  They finished 14th overall.

The last race of the day for Jersey Spartan was Isla Hall, U15G.  Hall had a strong start and joined the leading pack of 30 runners early on in the race with 285 contenders.  One large lap, 4K, saw them coming in fast down the finishing straight and Hall had managed to creep forward to claim 16th in 17.20s.

The athletes all showed fantastic sportsmanship and supported each other through this high level competition.  All of them are keen to compete at this level again in the future.

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