McCain UK Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships, Cofton Park, Birmingham 5th March 2011
Cornish teenager, Annabel Gummow has run herself into the Great Britain team for the World Cross Country Championships to be held in Punta Umbria, Spain on March 20th.
As an under 17, Annabel was stepping up an age group to have a crack at the Under 20 team selection trials which were held as part of the National Inter Counties Cross Country Championships and the final event in the McCain Cross Challenge Series.
The course at Birmingham's Cofton Park can be described as undulating with no really stiff climbs or ascents. The conditions were reasonably firm but it did have some wet areas that soon became cut up and a few shoes were lost in the deep mud. Annabel's race was mid-way through the programme and she had to contend with these tricky sections. Always with the leading group, including the pre-race favourites Emelia Gorecka (Surrey) & Louise Small (Hampshire) Annabel looked comfortable in the opening lap. It was Gorecka that made the break & had seemingly got away to a clear victory but a hard chasing Gummow gradually reeled in the distance between them & at the line was only 8 seconds adrift with Small a similar distance behind her.
With a team Gold medal in the European Championships in Portugal in December, as part of an equally talented squad for Spain, Annabel will be hoping for a similar outcome for the Junior Women's team later this month.
This was not the only medal to return to Cornwall. An equally outstanding performance came from Conor Robinson in the Under 17 men's event with team mate Hobie Martin in close attendance throughout the 6Km race. At one stage, Conor led the small pack which swapped around during the second lap. Both of the Cornish atletes were well in contention with Conor able to break into the medal positions to take the Bronze and Hobie a superb sixth place.
These two together with high placings for Dan Nash at 47th & Callum Jones at 76th gave the Under 17 Men a tremendous sixth team position.
Forty One Counties and Regional teams contested the races from under 13 to Seniors with over 300 finishers in most age groups. The highest placed County team were the Under 13 Girls who finished one better than the Under 17 Men, at fifth. This was due to some cracking performances from Harriet Lord at 25th, Francesca Waters 28th, Georgia Timson 31st and Emma Morley, in her first year of the age group at 56th.
In this team three others were just outside of the top 100, all also in their first year, which is a superb achievement, Lily England 104th, Annie Trotter 117th & Abby Cayton-Smith 122nd with Charlotte Emsden at 191st.
In this level of competition getting into or close to the 100 is a top class performance with top 25 amongst the elite athletes in the country.
April Hogg led the Under 17 Women's County challenge and was always close to the front end of the race to take one of the highest County placings at 19th, Charlotte Cayton-Smith was in best form to gradually work her way up to 25th to lead the Under Girls team to 16th. Isobel Steele had the expectations of the County heaped on her young shoulders having produced stunning results prior to going into the meeting but had 'one of those days' and slipped back from her top five opening position to cross the line at 66th, Yvonne Chart was 83rd & Finlay Bray completed the team at 152nd, just outsprinting Lucy Bowden at 158th.
In the younger boys teams, Danny Old put in a fine performance to romp home at 53rd in the Under 15's and Frankie Aldred was highest placed for the Under 13's at 143rd.
The big disappointment for the County was the lack of older athletes. Other than Annabel, there were no other Under 20 Women, Mark Budge was the sole Under 20 Man at 149th and Jenny Almey was the only Senior Lady to compete, finishing 212th. In the Men's race, three athletes made their debut over the 12Km course, Dan Alsop finished a high 127th, 800m specialist, 19 year old Charles Gunning was 255th & Phil Sanger 276th.
Other County positions:
Under 13 Boys (39th team) 172 Ben Rogers, 175 Sam Parham, 247 Jordan Walklett, 263 James Williams, 280 Peter Holmes, 290 Daniel Woodley
U15 Boys (30th team) 145 Sam Heslop-George, 172 Sam Lane de Courtin, 176 Oscar Holdsworth, 190 Kieran Rowe, 221 Thomas Wood, 236 Ben Parham, 247 Sam Adams
U17 men (6th Team) 123 Tom Rawet, 172 Andrew Worden
U15 Girls (16th team) 180 Zoe Fisher, 241 Ashley Smith
U17 Women (30th team) 129 Amy Sweet, 185 Natasha Ffrench-Contance, 215 Dulcie Atkinson, 228 Jose Gilbert, 237 Mollie Erskine, 239 Jessica Behennah
Six Cornish athletes have been selected to represent the South West in the Just Giving Virgin London Mini-Marathon to be held on 17th April, run over the last three miles of the main London Marathon course, finishing in The Mall:
U13 Girls - Francesca Waters & Georgia Timson, U15 Girls - Isobel Steele, Under 17 Women - Amy Sweet, Under 17 Men, Hobie Martin & Dan Nash