Northern XC Championships

Saturday, 24th January 2015
Pontefract Racecourse

IMG_9519asmIn the penultimate Cross Country race of the season, Bolton’s Jonothan Kay claimed a sterling tenth place in the U20 Northern XC Championships, held at Pontefract Park Racecourse, on Saturday. Bright, dry and cold conditions exacerbated by wind-chill ‘greeted’ the athletes, with gusty winds felt across the open setting of the racecourse making it hard to judge pacing. The 19-years-old Blue Vest managed to get into the early breakaway group of 15, but could not capitalise as the pace was increased around 3km by the Liverpool Harriers’ contingent of four (which contained eventual winner Daniel Jarvis and 3 others of the top 7). Determination was on show till literally the last metre of the 8km event as he pushed all the way to the line to finish in 27:29; Richmond’s Fergus Roberts was overtaken by one second, but Vale Royal’s Matthew Sheen survived by two! With the exception of Tom Lancashire’s win in 2012, it was Bolton’s highest placing of the decade so-far. Jonny will now compete at the Nationals in February.

For the Seniors, 24-years-old Frazer Jardine completed the 3-lap, 12km course in 45:44 for 175th of a large 697 field – all of whom were the North’s best cross-country exponents. Stockport’s Andrew Davies (37:44) held off former World Triathlon champion and Bingley runner, Alistair Brownlee (37:50) to take the victory. Beset by injuries and illness during last year’s RRXC and still not 100%, men’s team captain Jardine has much to look forward to as 2015 has the promise to be quite special, if all members can remain fit.

In the youngest age-group, Bolton’s U13 girls underlined the team’s strength shown in recent Red Rose season, as four athletes had qualified to compete in the competitive 196 field. Alice Tonge led the group home over the 3.1km course in 12:40 (44th), closely followed by Ellie-Jo Ramsden (13:07), Molly Philbin (13:19) and Francesca Fordham (13:25). Border’s Olivia Mason won in 11:02.

Also marking an excellent debut at this level of competition, Rachel Bailey’s 18:01 placed her 81st (of 151) in the U15 category over 4km. It will give her the experience to build upon after claiming overall silver from the four-race Red Rose XC series in which she claimed her maiden victory in her home race at Leverhulme Park.

It was an off-day for the U17s though, as the highly-rated Declan Toomey clocked 22:14 for 6.2km yielding 72nd of a 120 field. Still, confidence should not be dented after a stupendous run of form in the RRXC that saw him, like Bailey, take Silver for the series and claim his maiden victory (at Rossendale). The girls ran a slightly shorter course of 5km, as tiring Katie Oakley (22:39) and Mercedes Mercer (22:52) finished consecutively (86th and 87th) despite working the course independently.

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