ESAA National Cross Country ChampionshipsReport by: Bryan Murray
Six Wakefield Harriers athletes competed in the English Schools cross country championship at Parliament Hill, London the last major meeting over the country this season. All the Harriers runners qualified through county schools events.
First in action was Aine Hoban in the intermediate girls' section. With over 400 runners in the starting pens, Hoban was up against it. She was sixth of eight athletes in the Yorkshire team at the outset.
Hoban's race was run over 4000m. The first 500m were along an incline then onto a fine, undulating course. She worked her way through the field on the second hill and once free of the crowd Hoban started to pick off competitors to place about 41st.
With six to count, Hoban placed third of the West Yorkshire team that won an outstanding team gold. Hoban's time was a commendable 15 mins 34 secs. West Yorkshire totalled 246 points.
Zoe Gowland and Carly Wright were involved in the junior girls' race, again for West Yorkshire. Neither had the best of runs. Gowland was getting over a cold, and Wright lost one of her spikes during the race.
But the girls completed the circuit with Gowland 75th, a position that helped the team to a deserved silver medal as fifth counter in 13 mins 45 secs.
Wright ran on gamely and even managed to replace her spike after coach Ivan Spawforth had found the shoe and returned it to the runner who finished 150th out of 400 starters.
Three Wakefield Harriers contested the senior girls' race, this time representing both South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.
Becky Fender, Helen Singleton and Laura Sheard all had high hopes for the race. Nearing the 2000m point over the 4500m course, both Singleton and Sheard were holding their own in the top half of the field.
Out at the furthest point on the circuit, the runners entered a long straight to the finish. The flat ground suited Singleton who used her 800m speed to overtake runners to place 123rd. Sheard found an extra gear to attack and finish 101st.
The West Yorkshire team was placed 14th overall on 616 points and South Yorkshire 27th with 929.
Steve Faulkner was Wakefield Harriers' only male athlete involved in the tournament representing West Yorkshire. Out of over 300 athletes Faulkner dug in to help secure a team bronze. He was sixth counter in 94th place.