Cross Country: Harriers battle up One Tree Hill

ONE Tree Hill Country Park was the venue for the first Essex Cross Country League match held on Saturday afternoon.

Over 600 club athletes competed, with Thurrock Harriers providing 40 of them.

Best of the many great performances came from Gemma Holloway who won the senior ladies race. She won comfortably in a field of very experienced runners. Unfortunately she could not score because she was running out of her age group.

Best team performances were to be found from the under 13 teams. Both finished second. Harry Parker led home the boys in a battling 3rd place. Ben Prior confirmed his aptitute for cross country by taking the 11th spot. Finlay Lowe’s 15th place constituted a bit breakthrough. With a huge personal best, Mason Hambleton closed in the team in 23rd place. Only Cambridge and Coleridge beat them. With Leon Wheeler waiting in the wings this squad can look forward to further success throughout the winter.

The under 15 girls also lost to the out of County team Cambridge and Coleridge. Hayley Instance ran superbly to finish 4th. Holly Dowsett-Ward (15th), Demi Briggs (17th) and Kiera Scott (18th) were a very solid packing group to back up Hayley.

Sam Smith’s 8th place in the under 17s confirmed his current good form. In the same section Jodie Meredith was 15th and Gary Cahill 22nd. Oliver Mann and Luke Strudwicke were unavailable for this race but when they are included with Saturday’s trio will make a powerful team.

Amber Pullinger’s 12th placing in the under 15 girls also caught the eye.

In the senior men’s race Scott Rice showed he is back to form while finishing a close 4th in the 40+ group, 30th overall, which gives him a chance to compete for an overall medal which he has succeeded in doing in recent years.

In the under 11s race Demi Eaves won the girls section which heralds a good future for this 10 year old.

Other results:

Senior men – Don Lawless 66th, Nick Trencher 77th, Jon Metcalf 89th, John Russell 96th, Jason Syrett 102nd. (Team place 10th) Ian Scott 119th, Paul Mitchell 131st, 162 finished.

Senior women – Toni Noble 26th, Jodi Farrell 40th, Victoria Peacock 56th.

Under 17 women – Brooke Mensah 25th, Anna Stancombe 38th.

Under 15 women – Heather Peters 17th, Lucy Ball 19th, Rhiannan Ryan 38th

Under 15 boys – Reece Scott 25th, Taylor Newell 30th, Jack Exley 37th

Under 13 girls – Amy Raven 29th, Stevie Critchell 38th, Demi Morgan 60th

Under 13 boys – Evan Gray 35th, Ross Livermore 56th

Putting this race on these days is a major undertaking. Over 50 people were involved in the organisation on Saturday led by Club stalwarts Bernie Johnson and Mick Bumstead and the Club can feel happy that the successful event was enjoyed by all.

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Martin Mack, now in his late 40s, was delighted to return a personal best in the Amsterdam marathon. His time was 3h13m38s an improvement of several minutes over his previous time.

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