Mansfield Harriers’ Archie Rayner secures England call-up

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Mansfield Harriers athlete Archie Rayner secured his first England Call up after finishing fourth in the inter-boys event at the English Schools Cross Country Championships.

He will now represent his country at the Home International event in Dublin on Saturday.

The event is arguably the premier event for athletes under 17 as it gives them a first attempt to gain an international vest with the first eight in each race qualifying to run for England.

Archie went into the race as one of the favourites to qualify and handled the pressure superbly. Always in the leading group, he was seventh with a lap to go and finished strongly to move into fourth.

He now looks forward to next week’s event hoping to play a leading role in helping England win the team event.

Luke Duffy also had a fantastic race finishing 12th in the junior boys race to miss out on an England call up by two seconds. He has now been listed as a non-travelling reserve.

In the inter-girls race both Bethany Williams and May Roberts continued the fine form they have shown all winter.

Bethany finished 64th and May 126th as both showed a great improvement from last winter.

In the senior girls Alice Venkatesan once again showed her consistency by finishing 185th and Philippa Mitchell earned her first county schools vest finished 261st.

In the senior boys race Lewis Ashmore had his best race of the winter finishing 57th, which indicates the potential of a great summer season and Alex Rieley after a really successful winter came in 80th.

Completing the finishers the ever consistent Matt Buchan came in 121st in the inter boys race. Unfortunately Cameron Walker had to pull out with a hamstring injury.

Away from Blackburn the club had further success on the country circuit. Running in the British Masters Cross Country Championships at Ruthin North Wales, Paul Butcher had another storming run to earn a bronze medal in the over 50 category.

Paul has been a major contributor to the highly successful Mansfield masters team and this result confirms his standing as one of the top athletes in his age group within the country.

Ella Hughes was competing in Antrim representing the Midlands in the Home countries International against teams from the four home countries, Ireland, the North and South of England.

Ella put in another incredible performance finishing 10th overall, first Midland athlete in against some of the best in the country and is testament to how much she has improved this winter.

Away from the country Dave Ward continued his London marathon preparation finishing in 1.47.19 at the Stratford half marathon, a result that shows his training is going really well as he builds up to the big event. Anton Newall completed the half marathon in a very good 1.34.58. Maddy Collinge competed in the tour of Southwell a gruelling 16 miler around some of the best countryside in the county. Mansfield Harrier ladies also completed a team in the Nottingham University road relays at the weekend.