Abi Durand is Norfolk’s top performer at English Schools Cross Country Championships

Abigall Durand Inter Girl 7th. Picture: Tony Payne

Abigall Durand Inter Girl 7th. Picture: Tony Payne - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's top performer in the English Schools Cross Country championships was Abi Durand.

William Mahoney Inter Boy 10th. Picture: Jayne Hipperson

William Mahoney Inter Boy 10th. Picture: Jayne Hipperson - Credit: Archant

In the under 17 girls 3.8km race she worked her way through the field to finish seventh in a race with a field of 340 runners from every corner of England.

As a result of her performance she has been selected to represent England in the Schools International at Nottingham next Saturday.

Durand has been in outstanding form recently, finishing third at the National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill in the under-15 category and sixth at the Inter County Cross Country Championships at Loughborough.

There were other fine performances at the weekend too. Kate Willis came home in 38th place and Kate Goldsmith 50th as they helped Norfolk to an excellent eighth place in the team event.

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In the under 17 boys race Will Mahoney showed continued improvement this year with an outstanding 10th place, just missing out on international selection in the 5.2 km race.

The team finished in decent 16th place.

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Norfolk's athletes had to contend with a muddy, hilly course and bitingly cold conditions on the Temple Newsam Park course at Leeds.

Even the snow didn't stop the county's athletes from competing with the best in the country.

Another team to finish in a highly creditable 16th place was the under 15 girls.

They were led home by Grace Jermy in 43rd and Hattie Reynolds in 58th.

The under 15 boys team did very well to finish 13th out of 45 county teams with Joseph Smith 48th and Danny Adams 57th. Millie Solway was the first of the under 18 girls in 61st place.

In the gruelling senior boys 6.8km race Tom Greenacre and Jack White both finished in the top 50.

It has been said that the number of Norfolk finishers in the top 100 places is a measure of success.

In this case there were 15, the highest in many years.

The standard of cross country running is clearly in a very healthy place at present.

Most of the country's top runners have used the English Schools as a stepping stone to success.

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