St Albans AC U17 girls net top 10 finish

St Albans athletes perform well at Parliament Hill

CROSS COUNTRY: FRESH from becoming Hertfordshire U17 Womens’ Champions at the beginning of the month the St Albans squad took on the rest of the south of England at the South of England Cross Country Championships.

Runners from as far a field as Newquay and Exeter to the west and Norwich and Thetford to the east competed on the renowned and challenging course of Parliament Fields on Hampstead Heath. The girls had a challenging race in front of them with a 5km run over steep hills and gruelling mud.

Laura Farrar had another impressive run coming in 16th place with the rest of the team - Megan Steer, Rebecca Pritchard and Hannah Hull - all having solid runs and feeling that at last they had conquered Parliament Hill.

Unfortunately in the U17 mens’ race the St Albans team was down to one member as the rest were struck down by illness and skiing trips. James McMurray, last year’s national U15 champion, was now running against men a year older than him but he was not intimidated and he took on the 6km race from the start. With fantastic tactical knowledge he used two runners to ease himself back to challenge the bronze medal and on the last downhill effort to the finish his superior speed gave him the much deserved bronze medal after a truly spectacular race.

St Albans were well represented in the other young athlete age groups. The beauty of these championship races is that the club runners get to compete against the very best. Every young athlete has their own personal challenge so when they get to that finishing straight there is a tremendous sense of achievement and relief.

The U13s girls, most of who had never competed in such a big race with nearly 250 finishers, were an absolute credit to the club. All the team showed determination and strength to race and out sprint rivals.

Most Read

Again the U13 boys, new to this level and sheer size of competition, performed superbly with Marlborough student Jack Gentle coming seventh out of 223 finishers.

Victoria Pritchard of St Albans Girls School continued her excellent cross country season to take 25th place out of over 200 competitors. Fellow team mates Pippa Bailey, Abbie Smith, Alice Mulcahy, Meghan Hobbs and Madeleine Geers all had great runs and the team placed 15th overall. James Down, Andrew Wheatcroft and Ryan Allen took on the largest field of competitors in the U15 boys’ race with nearly 300 athletes.

The success of the cross country squad is thanks to the hard work of all the young athletes, parents and the network of support from behind the scenes at the club.