All four members of Aldershot, Farnham & District who ran in Sunday’s European cross country championships came away from the French town of Hyeres with a team medal. Steph Twell was in contention for an individual medal and she led the assault on the lead established by Sifan Hassan who had begun to tire during the latter half of the senior women’s race. The Netherlander (bronze medallist over 1500 metres at this summer’s World championships) managed to rally and cross the line eight seconds before Kate Avery who repeated her second place of last year.
Shildon’s Avery had followed Twell as the pair broke away from the rest of the field in the bid to catch Hassan and led Britain to victory with the AFD athlete sixth, defending champion Gemma Steel (Charnwood) eighth and Lauren Howarth of Leigh Harriers (bronze medallist when Twell completed her hat trick of European junior titles) seventeenth. Amy Griffiths and Grace Baker were 38th and 44th respectively in the junior women’s event and Jonny Hay 56th in the senior men’s.
There were individual gold medals for two AFD runners in Biggleswade on Saturday. Lucy Pygott won the under-17 women’s race in the South of England inter-counties championships, six seconds clear of Kent’s Chloe Sharp who is the age-group’s English Schools 1500 metres champion. Pygott’s club mates Stacey Burrows (ninth) and Maisie Grice (sixteenth) were also in Hampshire’s silver-medal side.
Laura Gent was a member of Surrey’s gold-medal winning side in the senior women’s contest where she came twelfth. Max Heyden was third in the u15 boys’ competition and led a Surrey quartet that also included Marcus Shantry, 23rd, to the silver medals. Charlie Parsons, eighth, and Alice Garner, 33rd, comprised half of the Hampshire team that took the silver medals in the u13 girls’ event. The South of England’s championships for masters were held at the same meeting and Austin Soane won the over-60s’ category by nearly a minute.