Delight for Bates with Second GB Vest

Alice Bates continued her scintillating form to win her third International vest in the space of 5 months, with another magnificent  performance over cross country to win her third Women’s U20 British Athletics Cross Challenge race on the trot securing the second automatic qualifier slot for the Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team competing at the European Cross-Country Championships in Turin in 2 weeks’ time.


Alice Bates with her third U20 Women's win & all important automatic qualification for the GB team


Bates went into the in race in hot form and as one of the favourites to secure one of the top 5 automatic qualification places and she lived up to her billing, romping home to finish behind U17 sensation, Innes Fitzgerald, who broke the long standing U17 3,000m British record in the summer.


Liverpool had seen some heavy rainfall in the week leading up to the race and the course was very wet in places and much of the course had broken up considerably from the previous age group races earlier in the day. Bates lined up with in a huge field of 161 athletes knowing she needed to get her customary good start to stand any chance of making the top 5 over the 4.4km course.


From the gun and as expected Fitzgerald went straight to the front of the field and started to push the pace from the onset which is her customary race tactic. Bates was right behind, although unlike Cardiff where she stuck to Fitzgerald for the opening 2km, Bates sensibly sat back slightly heading the chasing pack. As the race unfolded and the smaller loop was completed, Fitzgerald had opened up a huge 100m+ gap so effectively Bates was running her own race and she had 4 other hopefuls for company sitting just 10m or so behind, so the 5 automatic selections were far from sorted.


Alice Bates opens up a gap on the chasing pack


Bates continued to push hard and attempt to consolidate her 2nd place and this proved to be an effective race strategy, holding on well right to the final 500m loop back finish where she had sensibly held something back for her finish just as Chelmsford AC’s Megan Harris, leading the chase group, had started to close down Bates and sit on her shoulder. In the final slight uphill finishing straight Bates again injected some pace and opened up a 5m Gap to comfortably secure second place 19 seconds behind Fitzgerald in 15:04 with a magnificently judged race.


Alice Bates finds something extra to open up a gap on Megan Harris on the finishing straight


Bates was delighted to secure her second GB vest after her covid affected European U18 Championships in July

“This gives me the opportunity to avenge my defeat in the 1500m final in Jerusalem and I can’t wait to compete with Europe’s best athletes in 2 weeks’ time”.

Coach Shane Smith was similarly delighted with Alice’s performance

“I am hugely impressed with the way Alice handled the pressure of being one of the favourites, this is a different mindset for an athlete, and she has matured so much over the past year”. He added “One year ago in the same race she finished in 24th place almost a minute slower, she has really raised her game this season over cross-country”.

Alice will head to Turin as part of a full GB team for U20’s, U23’s and Seniors Men & Women, competing against the best athletes in Europe, and with a rich history of the U20 women winning both individual & team medals she has every chance of helping the team secure a podium finish.


Congratulation to Alice on her continuing fine form and we wish her the very best for Turin flying the flag for Kettering Town Harriers, and Northamptonshire on the biggest stage in Europe.   


Also competing in Liverpool was Senior woman Emily Williams who received an invite to compete in the EUROPEAN WOMEN’S SHORT COURSE RELAY TRIAL over 1500m against some of the Countries leading MD athletes. Williams put in a terrific performance to finish in 10th place in 5:47, pulling back two places in the final 80m. This was the first experience for Williams in this racing format, and something she will perhaps look to continue going forward.  


Emily Williams with a fine run to finish 10th in the SW short course relay trial


The U15G paring of Chelsie Locker & Maggie Gancheva both enjoyed great races with Locker in what was her best performance over XC in the red & white hoops of Kettering running a superb race, looking strong throughout she powered her way around the 3km course to finish in 35th place out of a field of 133 in 11:51. Gancheva finished just 11 seconds behind with a fine run in 45th place (15:02).


Chelsie Locker with her best run over the country in the Red & White hoops of kettering


In the U15B equivalent race also over 3km, Dylan Ransom ran well for 54th in 11:10 out of the 121 strong field, and Lucas Mansell ran well to finish in 121st place in a strong Junior men's race in 23:57 for the 6.7km course.


Further afield in Poland Demi Locker competing in the Polish European XC trial race also ran a terrific race to finish in 19th place so show she is well on the way back to her best following a summer season largely missed due to illness.

U15 Jemima Davey competing for Millfield school in the Tri County XC race (Avon, Wiltshire & Somerset) ran a superb race to win the U15G race held at Bath University and show she has settled in well in her new surroundings as a boarder, while younger sibling U13 Rafferty Davey ran a fine race in the U13B race (as a guest) to nick third place.


Jemima Davey fine win in the Tri County XC race at Bath University


Well done to everyone who competed in what was a brilliant weekend of XC racing at its finest.