National XC – Juniors

What makes a good cross country course? Hills? Tree roots? A pancake flat route? How about mole hills and streams? Yes, streams! Streams are awesome. They increase the mud factor exponentially. Every athlete should come back caked with mud on their face.

So, enough of those tame trots around John Leigh Park. Bring on Nottinghamshire’s Wollaton Park. Add in a few hundred additional athletes as well. No more single figure placings, but a race where a 3 digit placing could still be a fantastic run.

First up for the juniors was U15 boy Harry Sinclair. Harry’s been running great for the club for years, but seems to have found another gear in recent months. Harry finished an impressive 81st following another storming finish. I wouldn’t want him on my shoulder near the end of a race!

In the U13 girls’ race we had three 11 year old girls running. The quirk of the entry requirements mean that those born on the right dates can take part in this category three times, while the person who sits next to them in class can only do it twice. So, these three lucky ones (or unlucky, you decide!) were able to make sure their bath will need a good clean later. First home in a sensational 171st place was Aisling McHale. This meant that she finished well inside the top-half of the field; quite an impressive achievement for an 11 year old. The other two Altrincham runners had their own battle all the way round the course. Eventually, Grace Adams just pipped Verity Charnley as they finished in 290th and 295th respectively. This meant that they sneaked on to the first page of the printed results (these things are important!) and beat Paula Radcliffe’s 299th place in her National debut as an 11 year old all those years ago!

The final junior was Daniel Racle in the U17 men. Daniel was amazed by how high the standard of the event was, something that he of course contributes to. Daniel finished in 97th, to chalk up the second 2 digit finish of the day for the club. This completes a stunning winter season following his heroics in the Manchester League.

This is the best junior showing from the club in the National for some time. They should all be very proud of their performances. Hopefully, they will want to come back next year and help Altrincham do even better!

Thanks for reading.
Andrew Whittingham