Two Buxton junior teams in top 20 at National Cross-Country Relays

Sheltering under an umbrella are five of the Buxton juniors who took part in the National Cross-Country Relays.
Sheltering under an umbrella are five of the Buxton juniors who took part in the National Cross-Country Relays.

Praise was heaped on the juniors of Buxton Athletic Club after two of their teams finished in the top 20 of the National Cross-Country Relays.

Defying a mudbath at Berry Hill Park in Mansfield, the U17 girls came 16th overall of 49 teams, while the U17 boys crossed the line in a fine 20th.

Proud team manager Rachel Dowle said: “What an amazing experience the championships were for our youngsters, and for two of the teams to be in the top 20 on the national stage is just outstanding.

“These juniors never fail to impress. The bigger the event, the higher they step up. Buxton might be a small place, but we are truly mighty!”

More than 1,000 teams from all over the country descended on Mansfield, where the event has been staged since 1989. It has gained a repuation as a not-to-be-missed championship in which consistent records have been established.

A total of ten races for all age groups took place, and they attracted some of the best cross-country runners in the UK, many of whom were hoping to win a place in the British team for the European Championships next month.

The course was a mixture of good parkland, a wooded section with lots of undulations and a fast-finishing section. It was also churned up after heavy rain, adding to the challenge facing the runners.

Buxton’s juniors rose to the challenge admirably, with the U17 girls in flying form, led by Ellie Wilson, who ran the 12th fastest time of the day on the opening leg, nine minutes, 21.10 seconds. She was followed by Amy Whelan, Heather Wilshaw, Ava Hazelhurst and, bringing home the team on the last leg, Lucy Bednall, who all ran well.

The U17 boys also did the club proud, led by England international Sam Soles, who posted an impressive time of eight minutes, 46.85 seconds. He was supported by Stu Diamond, Ed Diamond, Harry Bond and, on the final leg, Will Longden.

In the U13 boys’ race, Buxton’s Oliver Ecob came home a respectable 94th, while the U13 girls’ team were led out by Lucy Whelan, who produced a strong run before passing to Rebecca Cudahy on the second leg. Grace Bond also performed well as the squad came home 81st overall.