Ashley Harrell and Ruth Senior take honours at Norfolk Cross Country Championships in Thetford
- Credit: Archant
City of Norwich Athletic Club's Ashley Harrell led home a record turnout at the Norfolk Cross Country Championships in Thetford on Sunday.
Competitors were not put off by the cold, breezy, conditions and it was Harrell who proved a cut above the rest of the field winning the senior men's 10.8km race in 37:18. He eventually pulled away from team-mate James Senior (37:59) with Simon Millett (Norwich Road Runners) in third place in 38:10. In the senior women's 8km event Ruth Senior (CoNAC) made the most of her return from the USA with a fine run and a time of 26:12. She edged away from Mabel Beckett on the final lap of the largely woodland course. Colleen Mukuya (Great Yarmouth) had a fine run to take the 3rd spot in 26:43.
The championships, organised by the Thetford Athletic club and Athletics Norfolk, were about more than just individual success. There were record numbers of competitors and something for everyone. There were events for under 11s through to age 70 plus.
One of the closest races of the day was the under 17 men's event where in the finishing straight Tom Greenacre sprinted ahead of Jack White with the finishing line in sight. Will Mahoney was third in a clean sweep of the placings for City of Norwich.
The ever popular masters races produced worthy winners. Competing with the seniors Gary Crush won the masters age group title in 39:28. The first of the female masters to finish was Juliette Watkinson (Wymondham) in 30:56.
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Abigail Durand was an impressive winner of the under 15 girls race in 16:08. She was one of five North Norfolk Harriers to win individual championships. Many of the team titles were shared out between a number of clubs, which is great for the sport. This surely a result of the resurgence and popularity of cross country running recently.
As a result of the championships teams will be selected to represent Norfolk at the inter counties event in Birmingham later in the season.
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It is worth noting that Dani Nimmock missed the championships to compete in the Telford 10k road race. She finished with the outstanding time of 33:47, which would place her among the 20 fastest runners in the country.
Next week sees the staging of the county Sportshall championships for young athletes at Sportspark in Norwich.