Tue 27th Feb 2018

Parliament Hill London

English National Cross Country Championships

Winchester & District Athletic Club (WADAC) runners took teams to compete at the 2018 National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill London, a venue which many consider as the home of the sport. On a bright, sunny but very cold afternoon the cross country runners turned out in droves to compete in this iconic event. In fact there was a record number of finishers on the 10 races totalling 6444 which shows the recent upsurge in membership in clubs and a boom in the interest of Cross Country running.

The Under 13 girls ran a distance of 3k on the tough undulating course. Rose Chesterfield is having a magnificent season and continued this form with a superb 25th position only 47 seconds behind the winner. If Rose continues this level of performance she is bound to have an excellent Summer season. Also running extremely well was Millie Burgess making the top 100 in the country in 93rd in a field of 470 runners. WADAC finished a fine 10th team place out of over 50 complete teams with the team being completed by Ellie McErlean 125th and Lara Bassett  159TH having her best run over the country. Also gaining great experience from the event were Emma Shedden 288th and Jasmine Jones 316th.

James Lewis who is still in the Under 11 age group ran in the 3K Under  13 boys race and had a very strong run finishing 54th in a field of almost 600 in a time of 12.29. Thomas Briggs was next in for WADAC in 144th. They were backed up by Michael Shingleton-Smith 165th and Rose’s brother Ben Chesterfield 210th for WADAC to come in 14th out of 60 teams only just behind their rivals Southampton who were 9th. Other WADAC performers were Tom Grote 212th , Ben Schofield  312nd and Matthew Duckering 460TH.

The Under 15 girls had a hard 4k course to contend with but Sasha Tydeman showed her strength having a fantastic run to finish 27th out of 464 finishers. Isabella Beck and Hannah Foster worked together well to come in 120th and 123rd respectively with the scoring four being closed in by Lilly Neate in 164th. The team matched the Under 13 boys and finished 14th team out of 50 teams. Grace Mckee also ran for WADAC and was 281st.

The under 15 boys had a slightly longer course of 4.5k. First in for WADAC was Doug Scally who had been looking for a top 100 finish and was actually 105th which was a fine run in the conditions. Second in was was James Medley in 207t continuing his improvement this season. WADAC had the minimum 4 runners to complete a team and the next in were Sam Roberts 248th and Dominic Exworthy   389th .The team were 35th.

Unfortunately in the Under 17 women race WADAC only had two runners so did not complete a team but Grace Mann had a first class run in 70th with team-mate Poppy Clements in the 5k race. In the Junior Men 10k race, which was won by Southampton’s Mahamed Mahamed  James Heneghan had a brilliant run with a final position of 18th.

Sam Parkinson again led in the WADAC Senior women home in the very tough 8k race in a field of over  1100 runners with a superlative run to finish 226th. Also running very strongly was Emma Carter who was 277th. It was again four to score in the Senior women’s and the team was concluded by Jo Jefferies 430th and Louise Snook 755th. Just missing out of the scoring team was Rosie UPTON 757TH. The team were a consistent 50th out of 112 teams.

The sight of of 2400 Senior men runners running up the first hill at Parliament Hill at the start of their gruelling 12k race in a vast array of different coloured vests is an unforgettable sporting moment. To make the top 100 in such a field is a remarkable achievement which is just what George King did in 94th position showing he is as good over the country as he is on the road. The WADAC runners who endured the 12k experience and consisted of the scoring team were Sam Appleton 622nd, Alexander Whiting 825th. Andy Parkinson 1032nd, Simon Tarrant 1067th and Robert Carter 1261st. Completing his umpteenth National was Dave Vosser in 1487th and Steve Goodwin was 2044th.

The race will go to the North of the country in 2019 but no course can really match the atmosphere of Parliament Hill.

Steve Torrance