English Schools Cross Country Championship

Sat 17 March 2018, Leeds Preston Harriers junior contingent donned their county colours for the English Schools Cross Country Championships at Temple Newsam House, situated on the outskirts of Leeds. It was not a place for the faint hearted, as bitterly cold winds and snow showers ripped across the grounds, while underfoot conditions rapidly deteriorated as runners churned up the soft ground. There were concerns that the event might be called off due to the bad weather, however the English Schools Athletics Association issued a defiant statement on the morning of the races: “This is normal cross-country weather in England and the championships will go ahead as planned. This is your chance to decry the increasing perception that kids nowadays are ‘snowflakes’! Turn up. Run. Get cold. Get muddy. Enjoy getting warm again! This is proper cross-country weather.”

In the Intermediate Boys there were great performances from both Ben Preddy and Matthew Fazackerly. They paced the race extremely well, gradually moving through the field (almost in tandem), as others faded, crossing the line in 22nd and 26th respectively. Lancashire’s junior boys also picked up the bronze medal for the team award. Nathan Dunn’s good form continued in the senior boys’ race. Nathan was at the front of the race from the early stages, however a podium place slipped from his grasp in the final charge for the line, finishing in 4th place. Byron Sowerby followed him home in 186th position. In the senior girls’ race Eleanor Ward produced her strongest performance of the cross-country season to finish in 33rd place and Sophie Rotherham put a solid performance to come 159th. In the junior girls Scarlett Sutton had a very respectable run to finish in 140th as did Ethan Warren and Thomas Barnes in the junior boys’ race, who were 156th and 191st and in the intermediate girls Darcy Lonsdale was 192nd.

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