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North Norfolk Harriers’ pair Abi Durand and Hattie Reynolds in superb form at National Cross-Country Championships

Abi Durand finished sixth in the under 15 girls 4km race at the Inter County Cross Country Championships last weekend. Picture: North Norfolk Harriers

Abi Durand finished sixth in the under 15 girls 4km race at the Inter County Cross Country Championships last weekend. Picture: North Norfolk Harriers

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North Norfolk Harriers AC delivered their best performances to date at The National Cross-Country Championships at Parliament Hill, London.

Hattie Reynolds finished fifth in the Under 13s race at the National Cross Country Championships. Picture: North Norfolk HarriersHattie Reynolds finished fifth in the Under 13s race at the National Cross Country Championships. Picture: North Norfolk Harriers

Under-15s Norfolk county champion, Abi Durand, posted the outstanding performance of the day as she claimed a magnificent third place in a competitive field of 450 of the best athletes in the country.

Durand’s podium finish is the finest achievement from any member of the fledgling Holt-based athletics club in its short three-year history, delighting her team-mates and coaches alike on a bright, bitterly cold day in North London.

Durrand’s stunning run came shortly after a similarly impressive fifth-placed finish in the Under-13 girls’ race for new Harriers star, Hattie Reynolds – also Norfolk county champion – and not even in her first full season in competitive athletics.

“We’ve recognised Abi’s potential for a long time,” said Harriers head-coach, Tim Ash. “On Saturday she proved she can mix it with the very best in the country. Abi ran superbly, intelligently and with tremendous determination. She nailed it!

“And we hadn’t even finished celebrating Hattie Reynold’s performance,” he added. “For such an inexperienced athlete, Hattie’s fifth place finish was nothing short of spectacular. This was her first ‘big’ race and her emergence on the national stage will have impressed many.

“Again, we’ve been aware of Hattie’s ability and had anticipated an excellent performance, but, to finish fifth was beyond our expectation – we’re all chuffed to bits.”

The National cross-country championships see the cream of the country’s endurance runners gather for the annual show-piece event. The start line at Parliament Hill – famed among the athletics fraternity – is an iconic sight with the city of London forming an inspiring backdrop. The Harriers provided competitors in all the junior races at U-13 and U15 level with some creditable performances throughout, and on arguably the toughest course in the race calendar.

Many of the club’s athletes will represent Norfolk at the Inter-County Cross-Country Championships in Loughborough on March 10.

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