CROSS COUNTRY: Nene Valley boosted by Southern success

FINE EFFORT: Austin Herbert (right) finished 45th. Photo by JOHN PRZYBYL
FINE EFFORT: Austin Herbert (right) finished 45th. Photo by JOHN PRZYBYL
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Five Nene Valley Harriers placed in the top 50 of their respective events as the club put in an impressive show at the Southern Championships.

Held at Parliament Hill in London, the high-profile event was contested under extremely tough conditions – with the course incredibly muddy from the off.

First up were the under-15 boys, with Austin Herbert leading the way. He remained at the top end of the field to finish in a very good 45th place.

Behind him, team-mates Ollie Bowling (106th), Will Baker (139th) and Bradley Allan (202nd) were the scoring four, with Edwin Flack (220th) and Lucas Fidler (251st) just behind.

Kelsi Ellis led the under-13 girls with a fine performance in 118th, followed by Amber Park (162nd), Ellie Piccaver (186th) and Libby Burchnell (291st).

The under-13 boys followed, with the course getting worse after every race. Harry Burchnell (108th) had one of his best races of the season, with Ollie Smith (168th), Ethan Ellison (217th), Ollie Oakley (222nd),Charlie Bamford (232nd) and Mapeshho Mukutuma (265th) behind him.

Emma Gibb raced really well for her 91st in the under-15 girls and was well supported by Megan Ellison (115th) and Imogen Woodard (215th).

Meanwhile, under four minutes covered Nene Valley’s finishing under-17 girls, with Georgia Gibb (86th), Emily Brand (91st) , with Leigh Ann Rose (128th) and Annie Grey (133rd) all running well.

Alex Hampson, last year’s under-15 champion, was a superb 24th in the under-17 men’s race. Michael Cawood ( 106th), Bradley Spurdens (123rd) and Damian Rutterford (196th) followed him home.

Lloyd Kempson was the club’s only under-20 making the trip – but he was another top 50 finisher after placing 36th.

Another under-20 racer, Grace Mullins, added another fine performance to an already impressive season with a super 20th. Team-mate Emma Penniston raced well for her 55th, as did Charlotte Harris (77th).

The Harriers’ top two senior ladies also made the trip – and both were in fine form.

Cat Foley (42nd) was the club’s fifth runner to make the top fifty, with Ruth Jones not too far behind in 71st.

The weather got worse for the final event, with strong wind and heavy rain along with a deteriorating course making for a very tough senior race.

Undeterred, Michael Moore led the squad home in 140th, ahead of Rob Prady (185th), Paul Lunn (224th), Mike Chapman(323rd), Sean Beard (384th), James McDonald (473rd) and Tim Hunt (938th).