AFD Dominate at National Cross Country
Aldershot Farnham & District’s runners claimed their fifth consecutive senior women’s title at Saturday’s English National Cross Country Championships. They were led home by Louise Small who forced the pace from around halfway of the eight-kilometre race in Nottingham’s Wollaton Park with team mate Emily Hosker-Thornhill closest to her.
When Hosker-Thornhill was replaced by Jess Judd, Small and the Chelmsford athlete broke clear and proceeded to exchange the lead until the downhill finish where Judd’s 800 metres track credentials (seventh in Europe and fourth in the Commonwealth Games of 2014) prevailed for a three seconds margin of victory over the AFD athlete.
A further eleven seconds back, Claire Duck of Leeds City, the North of England champion, took the bronze medal, six seconds ahead of Hosker-Thornhill. Lauren Hall finished seventh and Philippa Bowden ninth for AFD to complete the most emphatic team performance of the day. The club could have added the positions of Amy Griffiths (15th) and Katie Bingle (38th) to its score and still beaten Charnwood’s silver-medal quartet.Ellis Cross successfully defended his junior men’s crown while Gus Cockle, eighth, George Gathercole, twelfth, and Dane Blomquist, fourteenth, ensured that AFD also kept the team trophy. Their junior women regained the title that was lost last year after eight successive victories. Niamh Brown, who won the under-17s’ event last year, was fourth in her new age-group to lead home Gabi Eglen, 21st, and Nancy Scott, 24th. The club’s fourth victory in the ten-race programme came from the u13 boys. Harry Hyde was fifth, Sam Bodoano ninth, Ed Henderson tenth and Theo Cheshire seventeenth.
There were two sets of silver medals for the club: the u17 men (Marcus Shantry, 19th, Robbie Coupland, 34th, Max Heyden, 43rd, and Ollie Percival, 47th) and u15 boys (Luke van Oudtshoorn, 4th, Joe Blacknell, 40th, Charlie Kershaw, 66th, and Josh Genco-Russo, 77th). There were bronze medals for Tilly Horton, 21st, Maisie Grice, 42nd, Katriona Brown, 45th, and Lizzie Squibbs, 50th, in the u17 women’s competition.