At last, we’re back to that time of year when it starts to get colder, darker, wetter and muddier.  Yes, that means everyone can run cross country, for many youngsters perhaps for the first time.

Saturday 30th September was the first in a series of 3 schools cross country races hosted by the club at John Leigh Park.  Ably led by the awesome Mark Jutrzenka, this team of volunteers sets up the course, sorts the results, marshals and finally, the unglamorous job of taking the course down again.

Anyway, this is all in the aim of promoting the sport for future generations.  In the primary school races we had close to 400 runners across the four races.  In addition, there are the junior races with lower numbers, but in total you’re looking at over 500 performances.

Time to highlight some of the performances of Altrincham athletes.

The event kicked off with the U11 girls A race.  Our first runner home was Holly Newton (3) with Jessica Forrest (4) and Eleanor Nicholson (7) also making the top 10.  I couldn’t help but notice that a few schools outside our catchment area were in the top 10, the reputation of this event obviously attracting some high quality youngsters from further afield.  Other athletes in the A race that have been to training sessions at the club recently were Hannah Myers (12), Sara Herceg-Millington (13), Charlotte Stansfield (14), Thea Prattley (15), Lucy Pearce (16), Cerys Smith (21), Miah Lockett (22), Arabella Welch (32), Izzy Jones (37), Robyn Hernan (38), Aine Pegler (46) and Ela Ustabasi (61).  That’s 10 in the top 22!  (Yes, I try and pick the stat which puts us in the best light…)

The B race was also well populated, but I only have names up to 20th so can’t name everyone.  However, one of the highlight performances on the day came from Year 4 girl Susannah Thompson.  This amazing girl had told me that she thought she had a chance, but she backed that up with a stunning performance to finish 1st.  Others finishing in the top 20 of the B were Maddie Gilham (3), Joud Al Sharief (4), Tess Jarvis (14) and Jemima Hernan (17).

In the boys races we’ve not been so well represented in recent years but this year was much better.  Will Johnson (5), Zach Thompson (8) and Jack McAuliffe (9) all made the top 10.  Josh Mulholland-Wells (13), Cameron Scott (18), Year 4 Charlie Matthews (21), Ged Quinn (25) and Dylan Hanrahan (32) all impressed as well.

The B race also contained lots of young attendees at the club with Jack Harrison (5) and Eoin McHale (16) making the top 20.

Anyone in Year 5 and 6 finishing in the top 20-30 of the A race should probably be considering testing themselves in the local Manchester League and start trying to move up the ranks there.

In the junior races, there was no surprise about club representation in the Year 7 girls race.  Aisling McHale continued her dominance from last year with another fine performance to become the club’s second winner of the day.  We had plenty of other girls in action with Esme Pearson making it an Alty 1-2.  Verity Charnley (4), Grace Adams (6), Kate Fitzgerald (10), Orla Flynn (11), Eva Bucknall (19), Laura Kelly (25) and Isabelle Taylor (32) also did great.

In the thinning out older age groups we had Sam Fogarty finish 19th in the three lap Y8/9 boys and Millie Pearce 4th in a sparse but high quality Y10/11 girls race.

So well done to all, except the Rain King.  The next race is on the 14th October and can’t come soon enough!