Harriers in top form at UK Inter-Counties


A total of 21 athletes from the middle distance squad were competing for both Club & County at the UK Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships held on a very spring like day at the now traditional venue of Cofton Park in Birmingham on a course which was much firmer under foot than previous years. It proved to be a very successful day with many Harriers putting in best ever championship performances on a much changed cofton park course, which had some late changes to make it highly challenging.

Performance of the day was again U17 Josh Cara who despite nursing a niggle and only running 1-2 times per week is in outstanding form, and he continued he fine recent race sequence with a scintillating run which resulted in a top 20 placing. Josh got off to a great start on a much changed down-hill course, a significant change from previous years, followed by a tricky right hand turn which caused many problems throughout the day with bottlenecks. In clear air and placed top 40 josh made excellent progress, particularly in the last km of the 6km course to put himself in an excellent position for a top 20 placing, and Josh had plenty of work to do on the finishing straight but put in a determined effort to finish in a career best of 17th place, with an identical time of 20:20 for 15-17th places! Jack Hope perhaps feeling the long XC season also ran well to ensure a top 100 placing, finishing in 92nd (21:24) an improvement from the previous year and third Northants scorer to help them to a respectable 20th team place, with Ethan Mehmet and Edward Cannell making up the Harriers contingent finishing in 229th & 260th respectively.

Josh Cara top Harrier of the day in a splendid 17th place


The second highest Harrier placing on the day was U13G Emily Williams making great progress on her third race back from injury with a superb 40th individual placing, a good improvement from last year’s 72nd especially considering her current level of fitness. Emily also got off to a great start from 7th place in the pen, and was placed top 20 going up the hill for the first time, dropping back slightly on the second uphill section before making a concerted effort over the last km of the 3km course to finish top Northants scorer in 13:44 and justify her selection for the race from an appeal following the county championships. Jennifer Robinson also ran well despite getting caught up at the start to finish in a respectable 272nd (15:36) a useful improvement from the previous year.

Emily Williams top Female finisher in 40th place

Fran Ashworth who has had a steadily improving XC season perhaps enjoyed her best ever XC race at a major championship to finish in an excellent 69th place over the 6km course in 25:20, and it was again a great start which saw her amongst the early leaders which set the platform for a terrific race which saw her battling with fellow Harriers throughout and finishing 2nd Northants scorer for the team. Claudia Kelsall & Jess Gordon both enjoyed fine races to finish top 100, with Claudia enjoying a solid final XC race of the season but just lacking a little pace at the finish just behind Fran in 74th (26:00) & Jess Gordon who was feeling slightly off form finishing in 88th (26:22) still her highest placing at Inter-counties. The Northants team finished in a very respectable 13th place.

Fran Ashworth Fast start in the U20 Womens Race

In the U13 boys race over 3km Harriers Henri Codling & Dylan Bowley continued their season long battle, with the former proving too strong on this occasion. Henri enjoyed a superb run and was picking off places throughout the race to finish in a fine 88th in 12:58 a huge improvement from last year where he was placed 220th. Dylan making his debut at UK inter-counties enjoyed a solid run to finish just outside of the top 100 in 107th (13:07) to conclude a superb season as a bottom year U13. Northants team finished in a superb 10th position with Adam Caulfield from R&N enjoying a remarkable run & finishing as runner up in 2nd place!

The U17 Women with no less than 5 Harriers making the team also performed well over the 5km course with Claudia Nevett again top placing with a solid performance in only her third comeback race to finish in 123rd in 23:49 her best placing at a major championship. There were three Harriers making their UK inter-county debut with Elana Alberry enjoying a solid run to finish in a respectable 188th (25:15) and Hannah Winstone & birthday girl Ella Palmer continuing their rivalry with solid runs in 230th (26:35) & 234th (26:48) respectively with Beth Gordon racing for the first time in some months running well for 254th.

Sophie Moss & Chloe Hearn who have been duelling throughout the XC season were in action in the U15G race over 4.5km with Sophie perhaps enjoying her best ever XC race and finishing very strongly to finish in 148th (21:09) a significant improvement on the previous year, just ahead of Chloe who finished in 201st ((21:55) also an improvement on last year.

There were three debutants in the U15 boys race over 4.5km with Jake Trent again top scorer but finding himself right at the back following a disastrous start, working his way through the field to finish in 219th (19:56), and Fynn Batkin having a solid debut in 240th (20:08) & Josh Cannell a late substitute running well for 295th (22:05).

A special mention for the only senior in action, Trudie Pike who ran well over the tough 8km course to finish in 270th (35:40)

For some this will be the XC seasons closer, but for 13 Harriers the English Schools National XC Championships in Blackburn on Sat 14th awaits them before they take their well-earned break before Track.

Well Done to ALL athletes who ran. see more photos of the day in Gallery: www.ktharriers.com/gallery.asp