City of Norwich Athletic Club’s Ashley Harrell finishes seventh in London’s Parliament Hill 12k

On Saturday the historic Parliament Hill Field, London, attracted a record number of over 6000 competitors which included a large contingent from the City of Norwich Athletic Club. They were there to compete in the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships that were staged in weather akin to summer and firm underfoot conditions.

The 10-event programme as expected produced some excellent races. For the City club Ashley Harrell, competing in the championships for the first time at senior level, continues to display his rich vein of form. With 1700 athletes toeing the line at the start for the demanding 12k race Harrell was always challenging up with the leaders. It was only in the final quarter of the race that he lost a little ground but was delighted to record a superb 7th place finish. However, it was disappointing that the club could not close in a scoring team to back up his fine performance.

The situation was rectified in the Senior Ladies 8k race in which the club team recorded a creditable 7th place finish. Olivia Walwyn-Bush, getting over recent injury problems, was pleased to finish in a high 17th position. She was able backed up by Kelly Rushton who finished in 74th place and newcomer Imogen Turner in 91st spot. Nick Alford, just outside the hot 100 finishers in 106th place made up the scoring quartet. 650 ladies completed the race.

The first race of the day saw the U17 Girls take centre stage when racing over 5km. Tasha Potgeiter set off with intent and went on to produce arguably her best race of the winter season when finishing in a high 26th position. Mabel Beckett's hard work was with rewarded with a finishing spot of 45th while sisters Emily and Anne Hoogkamer closed in the scoring four when finishing in 69th and 99th places respectively. Their all- round efforts were rewarded with a pleasing 6th place finish in the team results. The U15 Girls quartet racing over 4km went one better when, of the 37 teams completing they were placed in a very respectable 5th position. Megan Soanes led them home in 24th place, Sophie Alden finished in 69th position followed by Alice Cheverton in 79th place. It was left to Megan Bird to close the team in when placed 135th.

Ashley Waterson 64th, Elliott Morina 114th, Jamie Finch 160th and Mark Allison 183rd in a field of almost 400 competitors were a little disappointed at not finishing higher than their mid -able position of 15th in the U15 Boys 4.5km race.

It was a similar story for the U17 Boys. Competing over 6km Tom Hook was looking for a top 10 team finish which sadly did not materialise when placed 19th.