Runners gathered at Thornes Park, Wakefield on Saturday for the annual Yorkshire Cross Country Championships. A venue used regularly for cross country races and the venue for the 2010 event. Heavy rain during the week had resulted in a few changes to the course, taking out some of the tough sections, but with strong winds to contend with, it was still a hard day for racing.
First off were the Under 13 Girls, Imani Wilson took the honours, with teammates Mary McCarthy second and Maddie Pearce fourth (first team) it was a taste of what was to come for Hallamshire Harriers. In the Under 13 Boys Robert Etherington (Wetherby Runners) took the title from Robbie Brown, who led City of York to the team honours.
In the Under 15 Girls race Annabel Mason of the promoting club, Wakefield Harriers, led for much of the race, with Bronwen Owen (Scarborough) the only one able to follow her. In the end it was Owen who retained the title she won 12 months ago, Mason did however led Wakefield to the team honours. Josh Naisbitt (City of Sheffield AC) took the individual honours in the Under 15 Boys race, also leading his club to the team gold as well.
In the Under 17 Girls race Fiona Bell (Hallamshire) retained the title she won last year at Doncaster, with City of Sheffield taking the team honours. One of the closest races of the day was the Under 17 Boys, with more than a dozen runners in the leading group on the opening lap. In the end it was Tom Bains who took yet another title for Hallamshire. Halifax Harriers packed well (4th, 5th & 6th) to take a well-deserved team gold.
Marc Scott (Richmond & Zetland) was a clear winner in the Junior Men’s race, with Holmfirth the team winners.
On to the Women’s senior race, and with defending champion Susan Partridge absent; along with many of Yorkshire’s top runners it looked a fairly open race. From the start Jennifer Walsh (Spenborough), still a junior, who forced the pace on and never looked back on the way to winning the Yorkshire title. Behind, Bingley duo Emma Clayton and Victoria Wilkinson (winner in 2010) took second and third respectively, to help Bingley to the team title.
The final race of the day was the Senior Men’s race. On the start line was defending champion Jonathan Brownlee (Bingley Harriers) and brother Alistair. The pair soon pulled clear of the rest of the field, taking turns to open up a sizable gap, by the time they heard the bell no one was anywhere near them. In the end it came down to a 1500 metre sprint between the pair, with Alistair just pulling clear in the last 100 metres.