CROSS COUNTRY: Plucky Harriers mix it with the best

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Bourne Town Harriers athletes mingled with Olympians and World Champions when they competed at the English Cross Country Championships held at Wollaton Park last Saturday.

A record of 4,686 athletes travelled to Nottingham for the seven races which make up the high-profile event.

Although the day was fine and clear, there was a strong wind and conditions underfoot were extremely muddy.

Coupled with the undulating parkland course, the event was a challenge to athletes of all levels.

Beth Howells was the first Harrier to run when she competed in the under-17 women’s championship.

She finished her 5km race in 177th place out of a field of 211 in a time of 24.09mins.

The next race was the 4.25km under-15 boys Championship. Cameron Everist and Scott Taylor represented the Harriers in a field of 346.

Everist finished in an excellent 163rd place and a time of 16.19mins followed by Scott in 231st in a time of 17.04mins.

Elin James was the next Harrier to run in the 3km under-13 girls’ championship.

In her first national championship, she finished in a time of 14.57mins and a race position of 331st

Molly Bennett was the next Harrier, competing in the under-15 girls championship.

In a large field of 355 runners, Bennett finished the 4.25km race in 315th place and a time of 21.17mins.

The final junior Harrier to run was Toby Everist, who was 348th (14.48mins) in the 3km under-13 boys’ championship.

In the women’s senior championship, Claire Steels finished the 8k race in 34.40mins to place 170th.

Team-mate Karen Clark was 423rd (39.37mins).

Meanwhile, the 1,657 athletes that took part in the men’s senior championship included the Olympic triathlon bronze medalist Jonathon Brownlee.

The Harriers were led home by Matthew Grace in 335th place (43.00mins), ahead of Shaun Hill in 866th (49.18mins), Tony Gilbert in 909th (49.49mins) and Mick Howells in 920th (49.56mins).

Also finishing the race for the Harriers’ senior men were Tim Wigley in 948th (50.18mins), Phil Galpin in 1,072nd (51.54mins) and Richard Houghton in 1,405th place (57.39mins).

The Harriers senior men’s team finished in 73rd place out of 127 competing teams.