Thornhill steals show as Buxton’s young fell-runners shine

Helen Thornhill, who won the U19 girls race at the English Championships.
Helen Thornhill, who won the U19 girls race at the English Championships.

The shining star was Helen Thornhill as Buxton Athletics Club mounted an impressive assault on the English Junior Fell-Running Championships at the weekend.

Several juniors, who make up the club’s fell squad, named High Peak team of the year, made the journey to the North Yorkshire Moors village of Chop Gate for the prestigious event.

And among a string of fine performances, Thornhill stole the show by winning the U19 girls’ race to be crowned champion of England.

It was quite an achievement considering youngsters from 50 clubs across the country took part in the championships. Thornhill could now be selected for Britain’s international mountain-running team.

Other Buxton juniors on show included 14-year-old Sam Soles, who was an outstanding seventh in the U17 boys’ race and was followed home by teammates Jacob Winfield, Finn Moffatt and Luke Mamczur, who came in 12th, 13th and 22nd respectively in a field of 64. Dan Soles was also a fine 11th of 64 entries in the U19 boys’ race, while Rebekah Heath was 15th in the U17 girls’ race.

In the U15 boys’ race, Caleb Winfield finished 23rd, and in the U15 girls’ event, Heather Wilshaw was 13th and Amy Whelan 16th out of 52 who ran. Lucy Whelan made her fell-running race debut and put in a terrific performance to come home ninth U11 girl.