XC season opener heralds' success in Cardiff

The start of the 2022/23 Cross Country season saw some terrific performances with Alice Bates winning the opening fixture of the UK Cross Challenge in Cardiff. There were also a small number of KTH athletes competing in the opening North Midland XC League fixture in Darby.


Alice Bates, who has been in sparkling early season form competing in the autumn road relays, easily ran her best ever XC race in the hooped red & White vest of Kettering, winning the U20 race in at the Cardiff Cross in a high quality field which also included the best of the U17’s from the UK. Bates made her customary great start to the mainly flat 4.4km course and found herself locked onto teenage sensation, U17 Innes Fitzgerald, who broke 9:0 mins this year when setting a British record for the 3000m. Fitzgerald was tracked by Bates for the opening 1500m throughout smaller lap, but with Fitzgerald setting a relentless pace she started to open a small gap over the larger 3km lap. Two International U17’s athletes Zoe Gilbody & Jess Bailey were also slowly closing Bates down, and both passed her with 1 km to go but Bates dug deep to hold off any further challenges and produced another terrific finish to retain 4th place overall, 14 seconds ahead of her nearest U20 rival in 14:44. The Race was won by Fitzgerald in 14:10 in one of the largest fields of the day.


Alice bates Superb Gold at Cardiff Cross


There were many positives for Bates to take away from the race as she focuses on the Liverpool trial race in November for the Upcoming European XC Championships in Turin where a top 5 finish will see her automatically selected for her 2nd GB vest. Bates will also have Improved her chances of an England call up for the Junior U20’s team for the Home Countries International at the next UK cross round in Milton Keynes in 2 weeks’ time, with a team selection announcement imminent.


Further afield a small contingent of Harriers were competing in the opening fixture of the North Midland League held in the warm autumn sunshine at Markeaton Park in Derby. Tiggy Guthrie-Brown was the most prominent KTH athlete finisher on the day with a fine run in the U13G race to finish in 11th place over the 3100m course in 12:51, with Clara Booth also enjoying a fine season opener in 13th place in 13:02.


Oliver Smith ran well in the U13B race over 3600m and produced another fine finish to cross the line in 17th place in 15:00. Just two U15B were in action with Finley Brooker running well to finish the 4.4km course in 15th place in 18:48 with George Sharp just behind him in 16th place (18:55) also running well.


U15's Finely Brooker (left) & George Sharp in action at the North Midland XC fixture in Derby


In the senior races there were some good performances with Josh Cannell top scoring for the SM in a fine 49th place in 41:13 over the 9600m course with Rafel Bozuk placing well in 104th (11th V40) in 45:19. Julia Bozuk was the only SW competitor with a fine race in 120th in 35:19 for the 6100m course.


The next round in a local fixture at Corby at West Glebe Park which should see healthier numbers competing in all Age Groups.


Well done to everyone who ran.