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.
Photos from Anne Baxter
First race up however, was the Intermediate Girls and it was a great performance by the Buckinghamshire Schools team which contained five Chiltern girls. Abbie Henderson was first home in 36th, Holly Henderson was 43rd, Alice Brown 55th, Katie Repper 143rd, and Alicia Bushell 172nd. The Bucks team was an excellent 8th, from the 42 complete teams.
The Junior Boys were next up and Thomas Redmond had a great run to lead home the Bucks Schools team home in 16th place. Archie Pinder was second scorer in 90th, Euan Pinder was 125th, Oakley Denson was 196th, Max Baxter was 228th, and a not properly fit Alden Collier was 333rd.
Zoe’s Junior Girls race was third and in a thrilling tight finish the Chiltern athlete prevailed after coming through from third to just edge Cumbria’s Jessica Bailey. Zoe has been selected to represent England Schools in the SIAB race at Falkirk, against Wales, Ireland and Scotland, postponed from next week until later in the year. Lesedi Nkoane (21st) just pipped Frankie Baxter (22nd) and they were the first two Bucks Schools girls home. Also running for Bucks were Maddie Hughes (141st), Marea Logan (218th), and Hannah Ashby (255th). The Bucks girls were 17th.
There were three counties represented by Chiltern lads in the Intermediate Boys race. For Bucks Thomas Askey was first scorer in 91st. Ben Jackson was 164th, Cormac Nisbet 176th, and Teague Eaton 213th. James Palmer had a great run for Berkshire Schools to be 133rd and Ben Hunter was 290th for Herts Schools.
Two Chiltern girls toed the line for Bucks Schools, Soraya Lockwood 248th and Millie Hughes 252nd.