England star Bethany Williams shines on her senior debut

ENGLAND STAR -- Bethany Williams (right), who proved shes no mean cross-country runner.
ENGLAND STAR -- Bethany Williams (right), who proved shes no mean cross-country runner.
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England track international Bethany Williams displayed her versatility when turning her hand to cross-country running for Mansfield Harriers at the weekend.

Williams was one of several Harriers who took part in the first of the North Midlands Cross-Country Series of races, which was held at Markeaton Park in Derby.

And competing in her first-ever senior event, the rising star put in a superb effort to finish 13th overall and third in the U20 race.

Her performance was particularly praiseworthy considering she is more used to running 800m in the summer than the 6k on offer here. But she proved that her winter training is going well as she ran a controlled race throughout.

The series boasts teams from several counties and is regarded as one of the most challenging in the country. Following Williams home in a huge field in the senior ladies’ race were teammates Kahli Johnson in 35th, Bev Armstrong in 57th and Helen Pritchett in 88th, Amanda Hardy in 112th, Jackie Duers in 126th, Maddy Collinge in 130th, Sarah Bradbury in 136th, Julia Lowe in 148th, Jemma Arbon in 155th and Tina Copcutt in 172nd.

But matching her heroics was another Beth -- Hamilton -- who finished an amazing fourth in the U11s’ race on her series debut. Improving rapidly, she showed terrific stamina over the last 200m to storm through the field.

Harriers also fielded a 12-strong senior men’s team, with the first home being Chris Allcock in 78th, followed by Andy Wetherill in 100th, Gary Morley in 106th, Jordan Boam in 110th, Nigel Watkin in 131st, Steve Davies in 147th, Ged Naylor in 159th, Craig Linacre in 165th, Alan Kemp in 191st, Gary Towle in 258th, Trevor Hiscox in 264 th and Peter Copcutt in 280th.

Two U15 boys also competed, with the ever-reliable and consistent Curtis Moss crossing the finishing line in 39th place, ahead of Joel Whittaker-Naylor, who was 44th.