It was a real baptism of fire for the U11s. Many times were the words “proper cross country” heard. A bit of a change from the nice grass at John Leigh Park and Crossford Bridge.

So typical Manchester Cross Country League then. Except one thing wasn’t typical. That was the stream of yellow and red Altrincham vests zipping past impressed spectators in the U11 girls race.

I knew that we had a very good team out. The girls have dominated the Altrincham and Sale Schools XC races so far this year, but for the club to have a winning team in this event is something else. Especially against such high quality opposition and an unusually large field.

However, it was not just the first three home that shined. Our B team was well ahead of any of those from other clubs. It should also be noted that having 8 junior runners in one age category is the best we have done in a Cross Country event since… well, we’ll have to bring the record book keepers out for that one.

First home in 6th was Aisling McHale. She’s been training with us for over three years, so it’s fantastic to see her reap the rewards for all her hard work. Making up the rest of the A team were Esme Pearson and Grace Adams with stunning debut runs for the club. The B team was made up of Holly Newton, Beth Robinson and Verity Charnley, with Jessica Forrest and Kate Lane completing the Exceptional Eight. Holly, Jessica and Kate were making their debuts in the Manchester League, while Beth and Verity returned for more after enduring similar torture last year.

We mustn’t forget to mention two other juniors who also braved the conditions. U13 girl Hannah Gregg and U15 boy Harry Sinclair have represented the club in these events several times over the last few years. It’s fantastic to see them still involved.

I am so proud of all the juniors that ran. I hope their experience has given them the taste for more and hope that their success inspires others to get involved.

Thanks for reading,
Andrew Whittingham