Davey delights at South of England XC Championships

Jemima Davey won her first area XC title with a magnificent race at the South of England Cross Country Championships to add to the Bronze she won at the corresponding Soth of England Area Indoor Champiopnship a week earlier. 2022 has started brilliantly for the Harrier and she will look to build on this impressive win in the coming weeks to close off the cross country season in style.


Standing Proud Jemima Davey with her first Area Championship Gold


The Championships took place on a bright, crisp day in Beckenham, Kent with the conditions underfoot unseasonably firm for this time of the year.
The event attracts athletes across 20 counties in the South of England and included entrants from Jersey and Guernsey this year, so provided a real test for the athletes competing.

The Harriers Jemima Davey as the sole participant owing to her residence and birth outside of Northants. Davey had recently competed on Track both indoor and outdoor in the 800m in the regional champs and took away a bronze medal - this fuelled the fire for the equivalent cross country championships but she was pitted in a packed field of 200 runners.

Davey had arrived in good time to walk the course but poor course marking and an obvious lack of marshals meant she was unsure of the route albeit the 3k distance was certain. The start to the race was also delayed due to a lack of marshals on the course, this level of confusion and uncertainty would have impacted her performance in previous years but is testimony to how Davey has matured.


The race commenced on a gentle downhill for 500m and Davey ensured that she was sat in amongst the lead group of 7 runners ahead of the chasing pack. The course began to flatten and Davey sat comfortably in at the back for the next 1k albeit needing to check her stride to ensure she did not trip from any flailing legs as feet adjusted for the uneven surface.

The route continued with 3 short but sharp elevations, before the 2k mark Davey, Isla Hall from Jersey Spartans and Katherine Haslip from Brighton Phoenix pulled away during a long and very steep uphill section; The 3 runners were now clear and were fighting for podium places.

An undulating downhill section followed and Haslip fell back as Hall led Davey. With the finish insight a final 200m hill needed to be conquered, Davey kicked past Hall but then looked to be really suffering as the Jersey athlete went past with ease quickly opening up a 10m lead. With 80m to go Davey looked pained and beaten, but as champions must the young Harrier showed her mettle and summoned the energy for one final kick moving past Hall who could not respond for a truly memorable victory.


Davey is victorious after a tough battle for the medals

Davey showed a true champion spirit to fight back and should be rightly proud of her performance.


Head Endurance Coach Shane Smith was delighted with her first major XC Championship win “Jemima has been in terrific form in 2021 on Track, Road & XC and has started her 2022 campaign in great style. He added “Jemima is well set for the National and English Schools races where there is the tantalising prospect for an England vest for the talented youngster a year early in the AG”.


Davey now heads to the English Schools qualifier in Ipswich competing for Kimbolton School as a Cambridgeshire schools athlete.


Well Done Jemima!