Records aplenty were created at Wollaton Park, Nottingham for the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships.
On a sunny but windy day more than 10,000 athletes and spectators attended the Championships creating a fantastic atmosphere.
Runners travelled from all over England to compete, with the numbers running the two under 13 categories particularly pleasing as 431 finished in the girls’ race and 385 in the boys’ – again both record size fields.
In her first year as an U13 and her first chance of running in this event, Leigh Harrier Keely Hodgkinson ran a very mature and well-judged race to finish in 15th place out of 431 finishers in a time of 12:13.00 for the 3k course, she was also the first runner to finish from Greater Manchester and 3rd from the North of England.
This was a fantastic achievement from a runner one year younger than her rivals.
Her team-mates Eve Williams and Joanna Smith were well up for the race but were swallowed up by sheer numbers, hampering and frustrating their progress throughout the race. Eve crossed the line in 139th place 13:37 and 10th from Greater Manchester, with Joanna finishing 352nd 15:15.
The boys U13 race was staged over the same course with Leigh’s only U13 competitor Kristian Wade finishing in 117th place out of a field of 385 12:29 and 9th Greater Manchester runner to cross the line.
All the young runners will have gained valuable experience which they will take with them to the next championships – the Inter Counties – held at Cofton Park Birmingham 15th March.
Leigh had two competitors in the senior ladies 8k, in which there were more than 700 competitors. Dionne Allen had a fantastic race, always up with the front runners, she showed 675 of them a clean pair of heels to finish in 26th place in 30:29. Sarah Griffiths also had a good run to finish in 74th place 32:25.