DAY 2 of the Essex cross-country championships that were held at Braintree on Saturday (6th) produced some pleasing efforts from Thurrock Harriers. Gemma Holloway, now based in Lincolnshire, returned to capture the bronze medal in the senior women’s race. She will be relieved to find this fine form in her first outing for some time.
Another bronze was won by Hayley Instance in the U17 women’s race. Hayley has had a fine season so far but will be looking for more progress in the various upcoming championships. The U17 men’s team, although without Leon Wheeler, their number one performer in previous events, took silver medals – losing by only 5 points to Havering. Sarab Dhillon earned his first Essex call-up with an excellent 5th place. He received excellent back up from Taylor Newell, 7th, Ben Prior 8th and Jack Exley 15th. It will please Henri Willett, 31st, and their first non-scorer that they would have won their silvers if his score had been called upon. This squad has great potential. The senior women’s team were fourth. After Gemma Holloway, Jo Wilkinson, formerly a Grays resident and international athlete, was 18th. Toni Radley (45th) and Jodie Farrell (52nd) were in fine form.
Kathryn Spring’s effort indicated her great potential. She was 64th in the field of 160 athletes. Charlotte Edwards rounded off the six strong squad whose strong effort gained her 116th place.
The senior men’s squad saw a great debut run from Shawn Brown was who 62nd. Rob Doyle 75th, Keith Willett 81st, Jon Metcalf 107th, Tim Martin 115th and Chris Applegate 132nd all ran well, to enable the team to finish 14th in the 28 that closed in. Lucie Ball was a solid 23rd in the under 17’s race – while Brooke Mensah was an encouraging 7th in the under 20’s event. Jody Meredith, Joe Logan and Sam Smith ran well but were robbed of a silver team medal because illness prevented team made Oliver Mann from toeing the line. This was a good day for the Harriers overall … their best in this event for some years, in spite of illness and injury sidelining several key athletes.