Cross Country : News & Reports

Braintree Athletes Brave the Snow and Ice at Great Notley


Despite atrocious conditions on Saturday, Braintree & District Athletic Club hosted its first ever cross country meeting when over 300 athletes from 24 clubs converged on Great Notley Country Park for the fourth Essex League match of the season.

The event comprised seven races in all for eight categories, from 3k for the Under 13 Boys and Girls, through to 6k and 8k for the Senior Women and Men.

The sub zero temperatures, the rock hard ground and the impending risk of heavy snowfall always made this fixture in doubt. Even staking out the course became a major issue with the icy ground.

Prior to the event it was clear that the course would have to be changed to take into account athlete safety. Nevertheless, it was decided to go ahead.

Much to the delight of the athletes, the Bird of Freedom Hill was taken out of the route on safety grounds.

In the U13 Girls' 3k event, Millie Smith of Chelmsford AC was first home, while Braintree's Georgina Harron was 23rd, followed by Rebecca Maloney, 24th and Maria Caulfield 28th.

In a race won by George Elliott of Benfleet, Braintree had five runners in the under 3k 13 Boys: Finlay Leport 31st, Isaac Jones 32nd, Simon Smith, 33rd, Bailey Harrod 35th and Eliott Coulson 36th.

The 4k U15 Girls race was won by Sophie Riches of Chelmsford AC, with Braintree's Sophia Diss 20th, Chloe Cockell 23rd, and Ellie Cockell 25th.

The 4k U15 Boys race was won by Laurence Riches of Colchester & Tendring AC.

Jessica Judd of Chelmsford AC won the U17/U20 5k Women's race, with Chloe Beckett well placed in 7th position.

The Senior Women's and U17 Men's Event combined 6k Race set of 1.40pm just as the snow began to fall.

Jack Fitsall of Basildon won the 5k U17 Men, while first woman home was Harriett Scott of Havering.

Braintree's Michelle Caulfield 21st, Josie Sheffield 24th, and Helen Francis 44th all fared remarkably well.

By the start of the men's race at 2pm conditions were blizzard like, and the laying snow made the conditions extremely tough for all participants.

The 8k race was won by Scott Sterling of Chelmsford AC in 27m 51s, who won a sprint in the home straight against team mate Paul Whitaker.

Braintree's runners were led home by Richard Pollitt in 45th place, Steve Reed 61st, David Reaves 78th, Simon Mennell 80th, Myles Coulson 90th, Mark Jackson 92nd, Andy Smith 100th, and Neil Speed 101st.

All in all a great day of sport, but the heroes of the day were the helpers and officials who endured up to 6 hours in the Arctic conditions making this event happen.


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