Silver-medal winning U13 boys A team - Angus Denison-Smith, Robert Hall, Thomas Conway, and Sam Henning.
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Pictures by Steve Perkin
Chiltern Harriers young athletes got the autumn season off to
a fine start with some very impressive performances at the Southern
Road Relays Championships at Rushmoor Arena, Aldershot on Saturday. A
warm, sunny day helped fast times.
All four teams in the Under 13 and Under 15 age groups achieved top ten positions with the Under 13 boys continuing their great record at this event with silver medals.
The boys were led off on the 3k circuit by Sam Henning who ran well in 10.56 to bring the team home in sixth place. Robert Hall took over on the second leg and had a great run of 10.54 to take the team into the lead. First year Angus Denison-Smith ran maturely with 11.20 to maintain the lead despite a slight cold, and Thomas Conway ran 11.15 on the final leg. He couldn’t hold off the final leg runner from Tonbridge AC, however, who recorded the fastest lap time of the race. Robert and Sam’s times were 11th and 12th fastest respectively.
There were 45 complete teams and the B team (Peter Hughes – 12.07, Fred Sanders – 11.30, David Willcox – 11.53 and Jonny Stenning – 11.57) did well to finish 16th despite Peter struggling with an asthma attack on his first leg. The C team of Calum Steer – 11.40, Theo Kontos – 11.56, Callum Hodson - 11.37, and Alex Thear - 13.36 were 27th and featured some eye-catching performances by debutants at the age group.
The Under 13 girls were 10th in their race, a great result as the team of three contained two first years. Hannah Thear led off and ran a great leg of 8.30 on the 2.3k route, despite being badly boxed at the start, to finish in fifth place. Year 6 girl Sophie Morton had a superb debut maintaining fifth spot with a time of 9.00, and Mimi Houlihan-Burne did well to run 9.30 with some of the country’s best runners on the final leg, to come home in 10th from 69 complete teams.
The B and C teams were composed of newcomers to this event all of whom gained valuable experience. The B team was 45th – Alex Hughes-Morgan – 9.55, Abi Jones - 9.50 and Rachel Padwick - 9.47, and the incomplete C team featured Katie McCartney in 9.53 and Jessica Brew in 10.24.
Both Under 15 teams did well. The girls were led off by in-form Hannah Morton who had a great battle at the head of the field and finished in third in 10.45 on the 3k route. This was the fifth fastest leg of the race. Connie Lewis took over and soon powered into the lead. She ran 10.39, the second fastest lap, to confirm her great early-season form. The third leg was handled by first year Amy Fawcett, who ran maturely but had to contend with several clubs’ best runners bearing down. She brought the team home in 4th place with a creditable lap of 12.19. The incomplete B team saw Katie Bench, 12.11, and Sophie Chesterman, 13.00, have good outings.
The Under 15 boys finished in 6th place. Joe Cochrane took on the fiercely fought first lap and, on the same 3k route, ran 10.24 to be 18th. James McCarthy ran the 10th fastest lap of the race in 9.42, to move the team up to sixth and Joe Aherne, with a leg of 10.04, gained a further two to bring the team up to fourth. Sam Butcher ran bravely and registered 10.46 to finish in sixth at the close. The incomplete B team had Bill Hughes – 10.18 and Andrew Stenning 11.02.
The Under 17s ran a 3.8k route and featured Michael Goddard – 13.08, George Gillingwater – 12.49, and newcomers Chris Strong – 14.37, and Eli Bou-Gharios – 14.54. They ended up 22nd of 35 teams. The sole Under 17 girl was Hannah Wardley who had a good run of 11.56 on the 3k circuit.
The big races come thick and fast and next Saturday sees the South of England Cross Country Relays at Biggleswade.