For this year’s Northern XC we went to Harewood House, north of Leeds.  Little was known about the course beforehand, but we should have been able to guess – lots of hills and mud!  It was a good course for spectating, providing opportunity for non-runners to destroy the grass in the middle of the course.

The highlight for me was seeing the club complete an U13 girls team.  The club has struggled to do this in the past and it turned out that this was our only complete team in any category this year.  While 25th isn’t as impressive as some of the other performances that the team has put in this year, it was great to see us have six girls line up to test themselves against the best that the North has to offer.  Hopefully, they’ll want to come back next year and improve on this.

In total we had 7 juniors complete the course with the positions getter higher as the day went on.  Our highest placing of the day was in the U20 males, with Akkeal Chambers finishing 43rd.  Millie Pearce was the other Altrincham junior to make the top 100, finishing 77th in the U15 girls.

In the U13 girls, five girls completed the course.  Our top finisher was Esme Pearson in 101st running her second Northern XC.  She was followed by 11 year old Holly Newton in 121st, Verity Charnley in 162nd, Grace Adams (also running in her second Northern) in 175th and Eva Bucknall in 206th.  Unfortunately, Aisling McHale had trouble with her asthma and was unable to finish, but she’ll bounce back.

A key part of what we’re targeting with the U13s is that they gain experience of what these events are like.  If they want to try and improve on what they have done, they will now have some idea of their current level and hopefully they’re starting to think about what they might do to get faster.  I see no reason why the U13 girls can’t get a top 10 team finish next year if they commit to training regularly and all goes well on the day.

Looking forward to the Nationals, we have nine U13 girls entered and intending to race, so it will be interesting to see how they do in that one.