Stunning performances by Lauren McNeil and Jake Greenhalgh were the highlights of Mansfield Harriers’ raid on the National Cross-Country Championships at the weekend.
Held at a new venue at Harewood House, just outside Leeds, the Harriers contingent defied exceptionally warm weather and a challenging course.
McNeil, one of the club’s outstanding teenagers, put in a stunning performance in the U17 girls’ event over 5,000 metres, finishing 21st in a time of 19.08 minutes.
Not going with the early pace, she ran a controlled race and worked her way through the field on the second lap to finish strongly.
Three places better in 18th place was the ‘Ravenshead Rocket’, Jake Greenhalgh, who was a tremendous 18th in the U13 boys’ race to confirm he is going from strength to strength.
Always close to the leading pack, Greenhalgh stayed resolute throughout and finished strongly to hold a group of chasing athletes.
Next home for Harriers was Edward Sankey in 235th, followed by Sam Knott in 268th. Jake Orr was hoping for a place in the top 100, but a couple of spike marks in the cavalry charge at the start put him on the back of foot, so he showed terrific character to cross the line in 276th.
Also looking for a high finish was Jenson Connell in the U17 men’s race, but he never got into full flow and finished 59th, ahead of the consistent Sam Bentley in 193rd.
Eight Harriers completed the senior women’s race, led by Hannah Hardy in 248th.