Stormont Castle provided the venue for the third round of the UK Athletics challenge cross
country & was the destination of 6 young Harriers & their supporters, having flown over the
previous evening from Leeds/Bradford airport.
Having stayed the night in Belfast the athletes arrived at the course early, to find
conditions wet but firm. First of them to run were Thomas Atkinson & Nathan Bolton in the U15
Boys race over a distance of 3.6km. Thomas made a brisk start to the race which saw him moving
through field to be in 8th place after the first lap. However, up against very strong opposition
he wasn't able to keep up the pace & came home in 21st. Nathan's start was slightly steadier
which allowed him to make slow but relentless progress through the standings to see him home
in 23rd place, picking up 7 & 5 points respectively.
Next to the fore were Chloe Patchett & Kate Wilson in the U17 Girls race, again over 2 laps & 3.6km. Both Chloe & Kate didn't start well, however, both gritted their teeth & put recent weeks of hard training to work, slowly picking off runners ahead of them. Chloe finishing strongly, passing 3 in the finishing straight to cross the line in 8th & taking 21 points with Kate battling to the end in 28th from a field of 120.
Finally in the U17 Boys race over 5.6km & 3 laps were Joe Hargreaves & Jack Hallas. Again neither made good starts due to the depth of talent in the field. But once again recent training paid dividends as they cut through the field, especially as Joe was still recovering from the effects of travelling, it being his first time flying ! Even though Jack had looked to be struggling early on, he produced a strong finish to see him home in 4th with 25 pts & Joe in 23rd & 5 pts.
They will travel to Cardiff in two weeks for the 4th round.
Report by Howard Miller.