Norfolk Cross Country Championships held in Thetford
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The sunny, winter weather brought out the best from Norfolk's cross country runners. And there will be a new name on the senior men's trophy.
Piers Arnold, of City of Norwich, was with the leading group of the 10.7km race from the start.
Running from the front for the rest of the race he built a 20-second lead over Michael Eccles, from Norfolk Gazelles. Scott Greeves finished third, helping City of Norwich to the team title, although Ryston Runners gave them a good race.
In the women's championship, Kelly Grant (CoNAC), the pre-race favourite, retained her title in the 6.4km race with a clear lead over the second athlete Isabelle Rodriguez. City of Norwich again took the team award.
Another outstanding winner was Jack White in the under-17 age group. He led from the front and built up a commanding lead and will surely be looking to do well in the national standard races in the new year.
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The Stares twins, from North Norfolk Harriers, in second and third places, led their club to their first county team title.
Emma Patel, running for Winchester, won the Masters race, as did Ian Robertson (Tri-Anglia) in the men's Masters race.
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William Mahoney (CoNAC) was a clear victor in the under-15 boys' race ahead of William Simm. In the under-15 girls', Nelly Porter (CoNAC) led a great race ahead of a high quality field over 4.2kms.
The Norfolk cross country championship returned to Thetford after a gap of several years and were a great success – they were organised by the Thetford club on behalf of Athletics Norfolk.
If there was any doubt about the popularity of cross country in the county, the hundreds of competitors in the event showed that it is flourishing. As a result of the championships, teams will be selected to represent Norfolk in the national inter-county races in the new year and also younger athletes will be selected to run in the London Mini Marathon.
It is worth mentioning that the English Schools Cross Country Championships will be held at the Royal Norfolk Showground in March.