(Above - our youngest competitor in the Championships, Amelia will still be young enough to run in the u11s race again next year - photo by Stuart)
Over 40 Harriers of all ages competed at the County Cross Country Championships held at the University of Bath this last Sunday (19th December 2021). For some it was their first time out at these prestigious Championships; for others it was a return to County Champs after last year’s event was cancelled due to Covid-19. For all, it was a challenging course on tussocky grass with a gradual slope/hill on either side of the large circuit and a competitive field with other athletes from Avon and Wiltshire also competing in the same age-group events.
The combined team of Wells City Harriers and Yeovil Olympiads saw excellent performances by all, with some picking up County medals as the pick of the crop. The Harrier tent provided a welcome shelter from the swirling mist and cold weather. Read on for all the details and final call for entries to the South-west XC Championships – deadline this Wednesday (22nd December), don’t miss the chance to have another competitive outing.
AND A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL OF US AT THE HARRIERS
(Photo above: Our u17 & u20 mens squad looking a bit tired but still happy afterwards - photo by Paul)
Events began with the early races for u11s designed as a way for youngsters to get a taste of competitive running which is a notch up from School’s events or junior Parkruns. The Harrier Monday parents were there at the crack of dawn putting the tent up and probably wondered ‘where is everybody?’.
(Above - the early birds get the tent up - photo by Stuart)
The u11 races were gleefully gobbled up by our youngest age group, mainly age 10 but with at least one, Amelia, age 9. Well done all. Bibi Abernathy ran away with this race, with Eva Dowden 9th (6th Somerset), Amelia Ashman 14th (9th Somerset), Xavia Bennett 16th (11th). In the u11 boys race, Jack Barker was first home for the Harriers in 9th place, winning Somerset Bronze, with fellow Monday Harrier Jamie Williams 5 seconds behind in 12th (4th Somerset). Otto Stahl was 23rd and Ruari Gordon 35th. Henry Kilmartin picked up an injury but will no doubt be back racing in the New Year.
(above - the u11 girls on the start line & below - Eva in the race - photos by Stuart)
(above - Jack Barker crosses the finish line; below the u11 boys - photos by Stuart & Paul)
For the u13 girls Daisy Abernathy was 2nd overall running as a guest, as she isn’t resident in Somerset, but she is a Club member. Team mates Isabelle Whittle (9th) and Isobel Stacey (11th) also ran well for County Gold and Silver respectively. Darcy Walker was 22nd and Erin Lumsden-Barker 27th to complete a great set of results. For the u13 boys, Arthur Fisher won Somerset Gold when finishing in overall 9th position with team mate Leyton Finn winning County Silver in 21st place. Isaac Slight was 33rd with Harley Walker, 35th in his first time out at this level of competition.
(Below - the u13 girls squad - photo by Paul)
(Above - Arthur Fisher (top photo) & Leyton Finn running hard in the u13s - photo by Paul)
(Below - The u13 Boys team - photo by Paul)
At u15 level there was another great squad of girls running and a clean sweep of the Somerset medals again: Lucy Bickerton, Daisy Davies & Macy Noad took these home. They finished 4th, 6th and 8th overall. They were ably supported in their team effort by Macey Burge 9th, Rosi King (17th) and Steffi Berndt do la O (22nd). One more Harrier, Sian Valuto pulled up with an injury but no doubt will be back after resting up a bit. There were just the 2 Harriers competing in the u15 boys with Finley Downes winning County Silver in 8th place overall, and Jay Carey 23rd.
(Below - only some of the u15 girls & the u15 boys - photos by Paul)
The combined u17 & u20 womens race saw the outright winner, u17Sophie Nicholls, who trains with us on Tuesday nights as a 2nd Claim athlete, win County Gold ahead of Harrier u17Hannah Blundy who picked up County Silver whilst also being 2nd overall. Somerset Gold for the u20s went to Harrier Lizzie Ingram (13th) with team-mate Emily Murray u20 Silver in 19th place overall.
The combined u17 & u20 mens race saw a very good turn out of Harriers across the two age groups with Dan Maydew 3rd overall, Somerset Silver medal for the u20s and then there was: u17Archie Coates Somerset Gold (7th); u17Harrison Williams 17th, u17Jack Harvey 20th, u20 William Armstrong 21st, u17Bradley Glover 23rd, u17Ollie Bishop 25th, u17Oliver Castle 27th.
(Below - Harrison Williams & Ollie Bishop running hard - photos by Paul)
Then we came to the last 2 events of the day. In the senior women we had a Somerset Gold medal winner when Laura James finished 8th overall. In the same race, one of our Honorary Life Members Amber Gascoigne, here running for Team Bath, showed very good form and won the race.
Finally, in the Senior men’s race, another Harrier Hon Life Member (again one that competed at World XC Championships for Team GB whilst a Harrier) Luke Prior, now running for Aldershot, was 2nd overall (1st Somerset) with Harrier Matt Lusby picking up County Bronze in 13th place. Matt Cole was 20th, with Robbie Hawkins 26th, and our partner Club (YOAC) Chairman Geoff Cole 68th (& by my reckoning bronze medal for V50s!)
(Above - the tent was well used during the day as a temporary shelter/gathering point/changing room/kit storage area. Here by u17Hannah Blundy, Matt Cole, Geoff Cole, Robbie Hawkins & Matt Lusby - photo by Paul)
Well done to all that competed. Thanks to any that team managed, shouted encouragement or took photos; took & put the tent up; or took down and took away the tent. Our thanks also to all the marshals, timekeepers, administrators and the County AAs for organising the event.
Maybe a bit of a learning curve for some that haven’t competed at this level before but all can take this experience into their next fixture….which could be the South West XC Championships on Sunday 2nd January at Ilton (closing date this Wednesday 22nd December) – that’s a lovely circuit to run on, even better than the University of Bath. This event should include team competition with 3 or 4 per age group to make up the team. SW Medals awarded. If you need a Harrier vest please contact Kit manager asap.
Other fixtures coming up in 2022 will be the Somerset Schools events for those of a secondary school age, and for all from u11 upwards the next fixture of the Gwent XC League (Harriers pay the entry of any member that competes) on SATURDAY 19th February at Blaise Castle on the north side of Bristol - a really good cross-country circuit including some woodland tracks. As usual all good information and links appear on the Harrier team tab here. Anyone for the Southerns or Nationals?
TRAINING update - If any change to the training arrangements due to the Covid-19 situation, it will be reported on this website. No Harrier organised training after this Monday & Tuesday (20th & 21st December) until the new year. We are now taking enquiries from youngsters wishing to join our Monday junior training group held at Millfield School (age 8-15) - see training tab.
BLAST FROM THE PAST - Report on the Somerset County XC Championships (& other events) from 10 years ago - December 2011