CROSS COUNTRY: Two Harriers in top 50 at nationals

Charlotte Taylor
Charlotte Taylor
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In-form duo Charlotte Taylor and Alex Hampson led the way for a strong Nene Valley Harriers team at the National Cross Country Championships.

Thousands of athletes from across Britain took part in the Wollaton Park event on Saturday, with Nene Valley having another impressive outing.

Taylor, who is the reigning under-20 world triathlon champion, came 11th in the junior women’s race in one of her strongest ever runs.

The Spalding girl was pushing for a top three position until the hills and mud took their toll on the final lap of the challenging course, crossing the line less than a minute behind the third placed athlete in 22.56mins.

Bourne-based Alex Hampson also had a storming performance in the under-17 boys’ race, coming 32nd out of a field of 272 in 20.55mins.

At just 15-years old, Hampson is still at the bottom of his age group, further underlying how impressive his run was in the biggest cross country competition of the year so far.

Hampson was followed in by James McCrae (95th in 22.03mins), Cameron Marshall (125th in 22.26mins) and Bradley Spurdens (178th in 23.24) mins to complete the team that came 11th overall.

Another age group to complete a team was the under-15 boys, who were led in by Austin Herbert in a credible 103rd position in 15.45mins. He was closely followed by Oliver Bowling (124th in 15.55mins), Will Baker (139th in 16.05mins), and Nathanial Taylor (221st in 16.59mins).

Emily Brand followed up her top 100 result from the Southern Cross Country Championships with an excellent 134th in the under-17 girls’ race. Crossing the line in 22.32mins, she was just one minute off another top 100 performance.

Annie Gray (184th in 24.49), Amy Gibbon (188th in 25.13) and Leigh Ann Rose (199th in 26.01) ensured the Harriers closed another strong team.

Matt Green headed up the senior men’s team in 489th place, covering the 12km distance in 44.59mins.

He had good support from Sean Beard in 569th (46.01mins), James McDonald in 817th (48.42mins) and Nigel Dickens in 1,482nd (59.40mins).

Meanwhile, Megan Ellison showed great improvement when finishing 120th in the under-15 girls’ race in 17.55mins, with team mate Imogen Woodard also fighting hard for her position of 283rd (20.29mins).

The youngsters in the under-13 boys and girls did their best in their 3km races, but found it tough going over such a short distance.

Amber Park was first in for the club in 185th (13.59mins), and Kelsi Ellis (226th in 14.15mins), Josephine Fortune (236th in 14.20mins) and Ellie Piccaver (303rd in 14.46mins) did well to make up the team.

Keilin Spurdens was 172nd in 12.53mins in the boys’ race, closely followed by Harry Burchnell (190th in 13.00mins), Ollie Smith (227th in 13.15mins) and Ollie Oakley (231st in 13.17mins).