We had no fewer than thirteen athletes running for Hertfordshire and Essex in this year's championships. One has to remember that you have to be in the top eight in your county champs to gain selection for this event. Being at this event is an achievement in itself.
Everyone knew that this would be the last event to be staged for a few months with the Coronavirus virus rapidly spreading.
This was the race that Abigail Reid was targeting, and after being rested from the Inter Counties a week earlier, she was hoping for a top eight and international selection. After the initial start Abigail was seen in the top twenty. She then started to move through and, with around 400 metres remaining, she had moved into 6th spot but with runners around her. Going into the finishing straight she held her form brilliantly to hold on to 7th and gain her selection. We knew before the race that the International, the following Saturday in Falkirk, had been cancelled. So although Abigail has not had the chance to run for England now they have not ruled out staging the race at Falkirk at a later date. We can however look that Abigail achieved International status in this race.
Kezia Beeton was 6th scorer for Essex, in 160th out of the 350 runners, so a top half placing for her. Tilly Major, like Abigail a bottom year athlete, also ran well for 94th and 2nd home for Hertfordshire. We know that, as Under 15s, these three athletes will take some stopping team-wise for WGEL over the country next season.
This turned out to be Evan Johnson’s finest run to date as he was always in the top 60 throughout the race and came through in 55th and 4th scorer for the Hertfordshire team as they placed 4th in the team race. Jimmy Geller also performed well. Jimmy is going through growth spurts at the moment and pushed through strongly in the closing stages to place 67th, with nearly 300 top county athletes behind him. Jimmy was 3rd scorer for Essex, who were 5th in the team event. Reuben Fabian's target this winter was to make the All England Schools Cross Country event, which he achieved. He did even better on the day, running for Essex for the first time and placing 141st and seventh scorer for Essex. Reuben also managed to put over 200 county runners behind him.
We had two lads running for Essex in this race. After placing 2nd in the Essex Champs back in January, Joel Doye had unfortunately been out of action with a leg injury, so missing vital training. We must congratulate Joel on his return to racing in this big event by placing 159th and second home for Essex. Danny Raymond, not one for the muddy courses, was nevertheless never far away from Joel, placing 180th and 4th scorer for Essex.
We had three lads in this race. Running for Hertfordshire, Ben Sloan performed well as a bottom year runner to place 125th and 5th scorer for Herts. Tom Adolphus and Kieran Allgood were both running for Essex, and they were together for the whole race to place 199th (Tom) and 206th (Kieran), being 6th and 7th scorers for Essex. What was good to see with the Essex lads was the way they were assisting with the younger members of the Essex teams.
We are very much hoping that Clare and Grace Malcolm will be rejoining WGEL after having been out to Japan the last couple of years. It was good to see them making these championships on very limited training. Despite this, both girls ran really well, Grace placing 36th and 2nd scorer for Hertfordshire whilst Clare placed 59th and 4th scorer for Herts, with their county placing 4th.