Harriers at UK Cross Challenge - Liverpool

It was a tough day at the office for the small number of harriers who made the long journey to Liverpool for the third round of the UK Cross Challenge, with recent heavy rain making the course very wet and slippery over much of the course. The UK Cross challenge attracts quality fields from some of the UK’s best athletes so this was a big step up in quality over the first North Mids league races, but for the youngsters still at school age this was a useful race in preparation for English which will hosted at Sefton park on March 14th, the climax to the XC season.

Alice Bates again led the way with a brilliant 8th place in the U15 Girls race, her highest ever placing in a UK Cross challenge race, and it could have been even better for the 14 year old if she had got a better start. Bates was swallowed up at the start and had to fight over the opening 1.5km to drag herself back into the top group, which she managed to do by the halfway point, she continued to work hard throughout the 3km course and finished inside the top 10 in what was a high quality field in 11:32. Also running in the race was bottom year U15 Alice Bennett in her opening XC race of the season running a fine race. Bennett got off to a good start finding herself in the top 20, with a lack of races unsurprisingly she tired a little towards the latter stages, but she put in a very respectable performance to finish 54th in 12:30 out of the 151 runners.

Another top quality run from U15 Alice Bates for 8th place

Also running well over the same 3km course was U15B Luke Cole who enjoyed a fine race to finish in 52nd in 11:07 out of the 152 runners. Cole perhaps got drawn along at the start and paid the price in the latter stages for starting a little quickly as he tired slightly towards the finish, but will take heart from a very respectable performance at this level.

U17 Woman Amelia McMurtrie fresh from her fine first XC win 2 weeks earlier found the going tough in the wet & slippery conditions which did not suit her, however she stuck at the task and ran a fine race to finish in 55th place in 18:27 over the 4.5km course.

Fynn Batkin was also in action in his first XC outing of the season in the U20 Men’s race which was the trial race for the European U20 GB squad selection which attracted a large quality field. Batkin rand a fine race finishing in a highly respectable 45th place in 22:44 over the 6km course in the large field of 129 runners.

U20 Fynn Batkin fine open XC race for 45th place

The final Harrier in action was Claudia Nevett competing in the colours of Loughborough students, also competing in her first XC of the season as an U23 but part of the senior women's race, she ran a strong race over the 8km championship course distance to finish in a very respectable 75th in 33:22 (28th U23).

Great running from all the Harriers taking part.