Having previously competed at the Northern Cross Country Relays in Sheffield’s Graves Park a few weeks earlier and finished 7th our U15 Boys team, of Sam Smith, Jack Muir and Alex Thompson, this weekend competed against the best in the country at the National Cross Country relays, at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield. When asked before the race where they hoped to finish, Sam, perhaps optimistically for that point, stated top ten, whilst the others more realistically stated top 20 or 30 would be good.
Some of the fastest runners in the country were present, with over 100 teams, and given that both Sam and Alex are only in their first year at this age group it was a tough challenge for them.
Sam Smith was our lead runner for the first leg, but was about 3 or 4 rows back when the starting gun went, so did not get the best of starts, and also later discovered he had a nasty spike to the front of his leg. Undeterred he worked his way through the pack to finish 24th on the first lap, about where we expected. Jack Muir then took up the chase, and with many slower runners filling the teams on leg 2, picked off quite a lot to move us up to 14th place. It was then down to Alex Thompson who came out just a few seconds behind Louis Hudson of Keighley & Craven. With a clear rival to target, he had soon caught up to Louis, but these two then fought it out, neck and neck through the middle part of the lap, driving each other on. Alex eventually pulled away, but not content with beating his schoolmate, Alex took several more runners to finish 7th fastest on the lap and to move the team up to 9th place overall, just inside the target that Sam had stated at the beginning. A very impressive result, given the calibre of teams present.