Just as lovers of music and theatre have their hearts and souls lifted by attending fine music concerts and brilliant theatre, I travelled to Sefton Park, Liverpool on Saturday to admire athletic excellence of Britain’s best on the sharp end of an afternoon’s cross-country many hoping for selection to the European Cross-Country Championships in Samokov, Bulgaria on December 14th. Conditions were excellent. Congratulations to Charlie Hulson, resplendent in his Welsh vest, who qualified for the GB U23 team and Sonia Samuels, newly returned to the club, who qualified for the senior women team.
In many ways Charlie Hulson has carved his cross-country reputation on this course. In 2012, very impressive racing won him selection to the U20 European X-C Championships in Hungry where he won a junior team bronze medal and last year he was one of the senior men’s team who won bronze medals in Serbia.
Sonia Samuels has been on Britain’s top flight for almost fifteen years and currently holds the club’s marathon record. She certainly needs no introduction to cross-country runners where’s she’s excelled. She’s the 2002 and 2003 Northern Cross-Country Champion; a former Junior National Cross-Country Champion (1999) and has the full set of senior National cross-country medals bar the gold which has so far eluded her.
Club newcomers Katie Hewison (nee Ingram) and U20 Jack Crabtree just missed out on selection. Katie’s career began as a middle-distance trackster but over the years developed her ability to be an impressive 5k/10k and cross-country runner who represented England on the country before going on to becoming the Commonwealth Mountain up-and down Champion, the Commonwealth Mountain up-only silver medallist and seventh in the World Mountain running championships, all in 2009
Jack Crabtree is also a prestigious talent with an impressive and developing background. Last year he missed out on GB U17 team medals at the European Cross-Country championships and has accumulated a growing number of England Athletics track titles and medals. He was among the leading pack for 75% of the race. Said his coach Norman Poole, “It was a solid performance on his first competitive outing over the country this season. There will be a lot more to come as his training progresses and he takes on more races”.
The club had several others compete. In the senior race, Gavin Hill improved from 73rd place in 2012 to 46th, particularly impressive in that he’s not yet back to top form. Matt Barnes had another good performance in 54th place just a week after he won the M35 gold medal running for England at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International, Nick Samuels was 90th, James Wignall 116th, Ryan Moore 134th and Callum Rowlinson, just a week after finishing 5th in the tough Conway half marathon, was 142nd. In the U20 race, Matt Beacock displayed good fitness to run a solid race and finish 97th . In the U17 men’s race Euan Gilchrist bravely went off with the fast early pace but was punished and finished 42nd. Adam Roden also went of with the lightening early pace; suffered but was beginning to pull through the field again when he stumbled and withdrew fearing injury. In the senior women’s race, Helen Armitage continued her fine form with a strong race in 97th and just behind her was Kathy Wellam just back from her Biathle World championships in Guatemala in 111th place.
I’m in debited to photographer Jerry Watson from Leeds who has very kindly contributed all the photos you can view on the website and on the club’s Facebook pages.
Posted 02/12/2014 17:48