A phenomenal bronze medal for their U17 ladies’ team was the highlight of Mansfield Harriers’ assault on the National Cross-Country Relay Championships.
Glory girls Libby Coleman, Amber Scott and Anna Smith overcame fierce and, at times, brutal competition from clubs across the country at the event, which was held at Berry Hill Park in Mansfield.
And they claimed third place against all the odds because Coleman had been on her sick bed in the week leading up to the race. She showed true grit to bring the team home in tenth place on the opening leg, clocking a time of 9.15 minutes for the 2.5K distance.
Scott then ran the race of her life on the second leg, moving Harriers up to sixth in a superb 9.26, before U18 Commonwealth Games representative Smith unleashed a magnificent final leg, making up a 20-second deficit behind the third-placed team. She caught her rival with about 300m to run and surged nine seconds clear, finishing only six seconds from silver in one of the fastest times of the day, 8.46.
The U17 ladies’ B team also acquitted themselves well in 48th, with Mollie Scott storming round in 9.21, Jessie Crawshaw clocking 10.11 and last-minute replacement Daisy Smith running the anchor leg.
Harriers’ U13 girls fielded three teams, with the firsts finishing 60th in their 2K race. They were led out by Beth Hamilton, who came home in 8.42, followed by Ruby Milnes in 8.57 and Alex Foster, who produced the best run in the age group, recording 8.35. The B team placed 79th after efforts from Grace Manson in 8.51, Sophie Toyn in 9.35 and Olivia Barrett in 9.05, while the C team weren’t far behind in 103rd.
The ladies’ A team finished 63rd in their 3K race, with Bev Armstrong posting a time of 12.38, Helen Pritchett 13.36 and Kahli Johnson 12.46, while the B team were 89th and the C team 103rd,
For the Harriers’ men, the A team performed well to come home 80th in their 5K event after one of Jordan Boam’s best runs to record 18.24. Mark Johnson clocked 17.57, Neil Cope 19.12 and Chris Monk 20.06. The men’s B team finished 98th thanks to Andy Wetherill, who showed a fine return to form with 19.21, Gary Morley, who recorded 20.17, Martin Fickling, who posted 20.03, and Steve Capewell, who clocked 19.12. The C team were 147th.
Another Harrier, Alex Rieley, helped his Birmingham University team finish seventh in the U20s’ 3K race.
EXCITING England international Luke Duffy, of Mansfield Harriers, opened his winter campaign with a pleasing performance at the National Cross-Country Relay Championships.
Duffy raced into sixth place in the U17 boys’ race at the event, held at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield, and clocked a time of nine minutes, 15 seconds, which was creditable considering the surface was not his preferred one. Dylan George ran 10.18 on the second leg, and the team was made up by recent new recruit, Nathan Ellis.
Meanwhile Harriers U15 boys finished 77th overall, thanks to Ben Smith, who marked his winter debut with 23rd spot in 6.48, Sam Bentley, who clocked 7.46, and Joel Whittaker-Naylor, who ran in 8.23. However, disaster struck for the U13 boys when Jake Orr was tripped at the start of the first leg.