HALIFAX Harriers’ talented Under 17 Men’s team claimed fifth spot at the National Cross Country Championships on Parliament Hill.
In doing so they won the Northern Cup, presented to the best team from the North of England. The Nationals are an enormous event, with thousands of club runners from all corners of England competing fiercely over a tough, hilly course.
It was all the more remarkable given that the team’s leading runner Brad Traviss lost his shoe after 200m and ran the rest of the 6km race without it, finishing an excellent 48th.
Jerome Castelow showed that his recent performance in the West Yorkshire Schools Championship was no fluke, coming home first of the Halifax runners in 32nd place, with Max Wharton (39th) and Ciaron Wilson-Baig (148th) completing the triumphant team placings.
There were other superb results too. Louise Redmond and Molly Traviss finished 70th and 76th respectively in the under 15 girls’ race, despite being at the low end of that age group.
Megan Berriman ran heroically in the Under 13 girls event: having fallen at the start and been trampled in the stampede, she worked her way from the back of the 370 strong field to finish 106th.
Meanwhile, some of Harriers’ younger athletes were busy running cross country at the West Yorkshire School Games, a mini-Olympic style competition across several sports held at Leeds Metropolitan University.
Each cross country race saw over eighty qualifiers from Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees, Bradford and Calderdale battling their way around a difficult course in Becket’s Park.
Calderdale’s Mason Hogan (Warley Town) won the year 3&4 Boys race with Oscar Small (Bradshaw) not far behind in fourth. Harrison Nayman, a year 3 pupil at Bradshaw, finished an excellent ninth. Old Earth School packed well and won the team prize for Calderdale.
Harriers’ under 11 girls cross country stars found themselves racing each other in the year 5&6 Girls race. On this occasion Lucy Hall came home in front of her pals, finishing in second place, with Lucy Mills in fourth, Isabel Castelow fifth and Annie Stone sixth.
This should have given Calderdale a team prize, but the competition structure meant that the girls were running as individuals.
Athletes qualified either as individuals or school teams from area championships, which was needlessly confusing.
It was a system which left Calderdale disadvantaged having markedly less entries than Kirklees or Leeds. Poor organisation also led to young athletes being left standing on the start line for 10 minutes in a very cold wind. Hopefully organisers will learn lessons if the event is to be repeated next year.