Twenty-five Chiltern Harriers were taking part for their County Schools teams in the English Schools Cross Country Championships, held this year at Sefton Park in Liverpool. This is the big end-of-season young athletes championship with three age groups - Juniors (Years 8 and 9), Intermediates (Years 10 and 11), Seniors (Years 12 and 13).
It was a dry day but the flattish course was muddy and featured some standing water, so a challenging test for the runners.
Zoe Gilbody grabbed the headlines again with a win in the Junior Girls race. That makes it a hat-trick of National titles for the Shropshire Schools runner, after National and Inter Counties success in the past few weeks.
There was an impressive total of thirty-five Chiltern Harriers selected by their counties to run in the UKCAU National Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Prestwold Hall, Leicestershire on Saturday.
This is the most prestigious of the season-end national races with regional teams from Wales and Scotland joining the English counties to make a truly national competition.
Most Chiltern runners were taking part for Buckinghamshire but there were also a few running for Hertfordshire and one for Shropshire.
Chiltern’s U13 Boys were the heroes of Nottingham at the National Cross Country Championships on Saturday. The team scored a convincing win at a grey and muddy Woollaton Park and Alden Collier added the National title to the Southern he won at the end of January. The boys were the top team from 44 complete teams from around the country. Zoe Gilbody also ran brilliantly and won the U13 Girls individual title.
Chiltern Harriers rounded off the Chiltern Cross Country League season on a high with a match win at Campbell Park, Milton Keynes on Saturday. On tough, but surprisingly firm, hilly courses, Chiltern runners across the age groups ran very well to secure a rare match win. Several junior age groups ended up team winners and the club ended the season in a strong third place.
Over 70 Chiltern Harriers were running for their schools at the Buckinghamshire Schools Cross Country Championships at Stowe School on Wednesday Feb 5th.
There were some individual wins and several athletes finished high enough up the finishing order to receive invitation letters for the Primary Year 5,6, and Year 7 English Schools Championships at Prestwold Hall on March 21st, or the English Schools Cross Country Championships at Sefton Park Liverpool on March 14th for those in Years 8 to 13.
The annual cross country championships for students took place at Holyrood Park, Edinburgh on Saturday.
Four Chiltern Harriers took part representing their universities in this large, atmospheric and fun event.
The BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Championships features an elite long A race for men restricted to six in a team, and a shorter B race with more athletes per university allowed, for those that did not get into the A team.
For the first time the women had the same two-race pattern.
Richard Slade was running for the University of Bath A team, and, with a target of top 50, had a great run to be 47th – compared to previous finishes of 144th at Exeter last year and 118th at Brunel in 2018. Richard was the second Bath finisher.
In the men’s shorter B race Harry Cox, running for Cambridge University, had a very good run to be 121st. Harry was 11th Cambridge finisher in a very large and strong team that won team bronze. Back from a stint at Monash University in Melbourne, Sam Howell ran in the B race for Warwick University. Sam was 278th, a creditable run in a huge field of 635 finishers.
Not to be outdone by the lads, Lizzie Barraclough had an excellent run to be 112th and seventh Leeds University finisher in the women’s B race which featured 495 finishers.
Chiltern Harriers had a fantastic day at the South of England Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath on Saturday.
There were individual wins in the U13 boys and girls races for Alden Collier and Frankie Baxter, and team wins for both U13 boys and U13 girls teams. To add to the success the U15 girls won team silver and there were numerous other great runs across the age groups.
Chiltern Harriers had a great day at Keysoe in the fourth, and penultimate, match of the cross country league season.
On soft courses that got increasingly muddy as the day went on, the senior women and juniors scored great points to move up their respective divisions. The club were fourth on the day and retain third place overall with one match remaining. The match acted as Chiltern Harriers club championships for the juniors, so there was added spice to some of the contests.
There was a good deal of success for Chiltern Harriers at the Buckinghamshire Cross Country Championships at Shuttleworth on Saturday. There were five team wins and four individual wins, and several athletes booked their places in the Buckinghamshire teams at the National Inter Counties in March.
The weather was kind with clear skies and reasonable temperatures. The underfoot conditions were surprisingly firm given the recent heavy rain.
A small band of seven Chiltern Harriers braved grey and muddy conditions at Fairlands Valley Park in Stevenage on Sunday to contest the Herts Cross Country Championships.