Bronwen battles for top 10 national finish

Bronwen Owen battles her way through the snow to earn ninth spot
Bronwen Owen battles her way through the snow to earn ninth spot
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Six members of Scarborough Athletic Club competed in the 126th English Cross Country Championships at Herrington Park, Sunderland.

The event is one of the greatest mass participation national championships in the world, and this year attracted a record 5,500 entries from clubs from all parts of the country.

All the top athletes in England are entered by their clubs, as to win the national title is still much treasured.

Over the years many a star name has won the Senior Men or Women races, but quite a few have tried and failed.

Names of winners from the past include Gordon Pirie (a three-time winner), Ron Hill, Dave Bedford, and Brendan Foster.

The course included some testing hills and the conditions underfoot were extremely muddy.

The opening race was the women’s under-17 championship, which was run in near blizzard conditions, Bronwen Owen who is a former English under-15 girls champion and the current Yorkshire champion, was competing in the higher age group for the first year.

After a hard battle with some of the top runners in the age group, including Great Britain international Annabel Mason, Bronwen achieved the highest placing for the club when crossing the line in ninth place.

The next most successful Scarborough runner at the championship was the reigning North Yorkshire Schools champion Emma Clapton, who had also moved up the age groups to compete for the first year in the girls under-15s division. Emma had a strong race to finish in 13th.

She was followed home by Leah Herrington who ran well to finish up in 121st of the 208 strong field.

In the junior men’s and women’s races, Jack Robertson and Becky Mills, who had both moved up from the under-17 group this year, were competing with many established junior international runners.

In rapidly deteriorating conditions underfoot, Jack, who is the favourite to win the seniors only East Yorkshire cross country League champion this season, finished in 50th place.

Becky, who along with Jack and other Scarborough young athletes, gained a North Yorkshire Schools vest at last month’s championships, coped well with the tough conditions to finish up in 71st.

After Mick Thompson was unable to compete due to injury, Diane Herrington was the only senior Scarborough runner to mix it with many top class runners at the championships.

Diane coped well with the mud and slush on the course, to complete the senior race in 293rd of the strong 427 field.