Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships 2019

Pontefract racecourse provided an excellent venue for the Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships last weekend. The course stretched from the start and finish area in front of the Grandstand down towards the M62 motorway and was great for spectators to view.

This Championship event consists of clubs from every county across the North of England and the standard is extremely high, with many GB internationals leading the field. Holmfirth Harriers had a good turnout, across all age groups, with the highlight being an individual and a team medal.

The course was firm and fast, and somewhat flatter than the Harriers are used to!

A total of thirteen junior athletes pulled on the amber vest to compete for Holmfirth Harriers in the Championship event. First to race were the Under 17 women, with Zara Tyas putting in another excellent performance to finish in 31st, and Olivia Dyson also running very well to finish just a few places behind in 40th.

Imogen Wolff U13G Bronze medalist NCCC 2019

Imogen Wolff U13G Bronze medalist NCCC 2019

The Under 13 girls were next to find their pen and await the starting gun. In a field of over 200 runners, Yorkshire champion Imogen Wolff was first to respond to the bang, leading the pack from the front and just being caught towards the end of the race to finish in a fantastic third place and take home the only junior medal of the day for the Harriers. Next to finish was Annie McLean, running strongly to end the race in 138th place, followed by Alice Feetham and Elizabeth Gilligan a little further down the field. A good effort by all four girls saw the team finish in 18th place.

No Under 17 men running for the club today, so it was over to the Under 13 boys to take up the challenge. With four counters required for a team position, it was down to the three Harriers in this race to run for individual placings. All three boys were making their debut in this event, and it was Harry Gilligan that took the bragging rights finishing first Harrier in 138th, with Jamie Stewart hot on his heels in 157th place and Jack Sunderland just a minute behind Harry in 183rd.

The final event to feature junior Harriers was the Under 15 girls race, with all four girls giving all they had to get the best score for the team. First club finisher was Isabel Richardson, running hard before fading slightly to cross the line in an impressive 18th place. Elena Inch finished the race strongly, picking off several runners in the final straight to come in 36th. Mollie Scaramuzza and Lauren Hirst were further back in the field, but contributed to an overall solid team performance and a team position of 13th place.

U20 Women Team NCCC 2019

U20 Women Team NCCC 2019

In the Junior (U20) Women’s race had a strong representation from Holmfirth. It was the trio of Lucy Byram, Erica Byram & Cara Inch who worked well to take silver medals with Erica in 10th (20:46), Lucy in 17th (21:23), and Cara in 35th (22:35). Juliette Branford also ran well in 41st (23:02). Holmfirth’s Senior Women had a few last minute drop outs due to injury but still did well to complete a team. The women’s race was held over a two-lap 8km course. Helen Berry was first back in 30th (30:48), followed by Claire Leaver-Hewitt in 91st (34:09). Zoe Storr enjoyed a welcome return from injury and illness in 135th (36:08) and Cara Bintcliffe completed her first event of this scale 227th (39:39) and completed the team, which was 16th. Mhairi Maclennan of Morpeth Harriers retained her 2018 title in a closely fought race at the front.

In the Junior (U20) Men’s race, run over the same course as the women’s race was won convincingly by Rory Leonard (Morpeth 25.41), Holmfirth only had Fionn Kerry who had a solid run for 49th (30.49). In the Senior Men’s three-lap 12km race Mark Buckingham emerged as the lead runner for Holmfirth. Working his way back to full fitness following an Achilles injury Buckingham worked his way through the field to finish in 29th (40.29). In form youngster, Chris Law, started well and despite fading a little on the final lap finished 61st (41.46), followed by the talented triathlete Lewis Byram in 77th (42.13). Also having a decent run was Kai Sunman in 130th (44.02). The last two counters for the team were Tim Street in 159th (44.54) and Sam O’Shea in 182nd (45.21) which earned the team 10th position. The event was won by Yorkshire Champion, Emille Cairess of Leeds City. Other Holmfirth placings: Phil Hewitt 275th (47.52), Chris Beadle 294th (48.21), Damo McQueen 383rd (50.17), Neil Thornton 414th (51.10), Simon Barrans 565th (56.46) & Rob Kersey 595th (57.49).

Holmfirth also had volunteers helping set out and marshall the course.

The teams will next be in action at the English National Cross Country Championships, which this year is being held at Harewood House in Leeds.

Link to the full results - https://www.northernathletics.org.uk/2019-results-index/

Pre-2012 news, results & reports are on the old sites: 2009 to 2011, Pre-2009

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