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Southern CC Champs: Young Athletes

Beckenham Park was the venue for the third year in a row for these champs. The weather was mild, no rain, and a good course including one big climb. Most fields were about 200 strong.

U17 Men

Nate Harding is gradually getting back to his best form and this was illustrated by his 85th spot, in the top half of the field and only two minutes down on winner Sam Plummer, who was three minutes ahead of Nate in the Essex Champs over a similar distance. Nate will now focus on on the final Met League, and then the National two weeks after that.

Nate Harding finished 85th

U17 Women

After missing the Essex Champs due to a slight hamstring issue, Abigail Reid returned to great form. Although the likes of Katie Pye and winner Eliza Nicholson broke away early on, Abigail was in the next pack of six athletes. Working hard to maintain her forward position, Abigail reached the bottom of the hill going into the finish in 6th place, with two other athletes close behind her. A superb effort up the hill saw Abigail pull away from the two girls behind and pass the Norwich athlete to place 5th - an excellent result! Matilda Frith and Sofia Read are excellent club athletes and must never be overlooked. They ran well, with Matilda 117th and Sofia 118th.

Abigail Reid was a very fine 5th

U15 Boys

This was the race our lads had worked hard towards, hoping to to place at least in the top 6 teams from around 40 clubs.

Soon after the start Harry Stockill, Luka Norden and Oscar Eaton were already in the top 20 and, with Daniel Arnold not too far behind, the Team Manager began to feel they could even medal! Tonbridge were two lads light but Blackheath & Bromley and Herne Hill also had runners prominent. The Team Manager had overlooked Winchester Running Club who had 4 runners in the top 5 in the Hampshire Champs, and who had runners prominent too.

At the end Harry hung on well for 8th spot. Luka, coming back to form, was 22nd and Oscar, who has only been with us for about four months, 28th. Daniel was not far behind in 60th spot and he should be praised for his fine effort, as is also the case with the three other Woodies. So we awaited the outcome. Winchester won from B& B with Herne Hill 3rd, while we were the unlucky ones to miss out on medals. The Team Manager and coach emphasised to the four scoring lads that things will only get better if they stick together both in training and races. He experienced great times as a youth himself at Belgrave, and wants to pass this on to our youngsters.

We had four other lads in this race. Josh Stephenson, who trains with the scoring four, placed 111th and is improving all the time, so in time he will hopefully be alongside those four. Yuvan Kumar, who battled it out with Josh up the hill, was 112th, which was a really good run for him. Lucas Freedman, who is running for Essex Schools this weekend, was 127th in his first big race. How good of Rahul Solanki to turn out for us again! A super club lad who raced over 300 metres indoors recently, he finished 150th.

5 of our U15s: Josh, Oscar, Daniel, Harry and Luka

U15 Girls

We were short of numbers in this age group but the two that did run gave their all once again. In a good sized field Tess Noblett, also representing Essex Schools this weekend, got a good start and was well inside the top half of the field with 88th. Ella Traynor was recently out with illness but she hardly treated this race like a recovery run. She once again excelled to place 117th. Both girls deserve much credit for their runs.

U13 Girls

We had a team of four girls who placed 13th on the day. Sophia Parker, who is now recognised as a county athlete, led the team home in 86th. I'm sure this could have been 20/30 places higher as she was badly tripped at the start. Sophia was 120th last year and is gaining in confidence with each race. She too is running for Essex Schools this weekend. Emilia Kasinska had a fine run indeed for 127th. Apparently nervous before her first big race, she worked through the field as the race wore on and she was all smiles at the end. Next home was Mayowa Alake in 133rd. Mayowa had been out with illness recently so wisely started off slowly and gained in confidence as the race wore on. Isla Baron closed the team in 141st and again this was a confident run for Isla who improved 30 places on last year's performance. A good all-round team effort and let’s hope the girls will gain from this experience.

U13 Boys

We only had two lads and, although they were slightly disappointed with their runs, let’s pay tribute to these lads who always support the club whether it is Chingford League, Met League, the Essex or the Southerns. Eric Frith was 155th. He is only a year 7 lad and he will have learned a lot from his experience. I’m willing to bet that if Eric continues working hard he might get close to getting county colours in the Essex Schools Year 7 race later this month. Emmanuel Olabanji was just one place behind Eric. He has been out injured for a while but chose not to let the club down. A totally committed lad, but a wee bit of time out to recover from the injury will now be good for Emmanuel.

So a good day at the office for our youngsters with five in the top 30 (including Joel’s 6th place U20 men).