Norwich athletes march to glory on Parliament Hill
Frequently referred to as the home of English cross-country running, Parliament Hill Field, Hampstead Heath proved to be a happy hunting ground for the City of Norwich Athletic Club.
Competing in the Saucony South of England Championships staged on Saturday, the club's athletes produced many excellent personal and team performances in this the first major cross-country championship of the winter season.
Conditions underfoot varied from firm to glutinous mud but this made no different to Ashley Waterson. Competing in the Under-13 Boys 3km race he continued his impressive winning streak. With 400m to the line and placed third, his superb sprint over the final 200m saw him take gold by a metre.
With Alfie Linstead finishing in 44th position, Jamie Finch 52nd despite a badly cut leg and Adam Davison 72nd there was a nail biting wait to see if the team had stolen the bronze medals from Aldershot Farnham & District AC. Concern turned to broad smiles as their third place finish was confirmed.
Esme Salmon finished in a splendid 12th place in the Under-17 Girls 5km race and led her team to a gold winning performance.
Tasha Potgieter, who is a first year Under 17, confirmed her battling qualities when finishing in 23rd place. Juliet Broster as always dug deep to finish in 27th spot, as did tri-athlete Alex McKibben who crossed the line in 33rd position.
With a total points score of 95 the competition for gold could not have been closer as they overcame Bracknell AC by just the one point.
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Despite Kelly Ruston's late call-off due to illness, the Senior Ladies team racing over 8km still looked a strong outfit. Hollie Rowland had just returned to the fold from her home base in Germany and Olivia Walwyn had travelled down from Macclesfield to compete. Dani Nimmock and super veteran Jane Clarke made up the team.
Rowland took the individual bronze in fine style followed home by Olivia Walwyn in seventh place. Nimmock finished in a high 12th position. The pressure was then on Jane Clarke, running in the knowledge that she had to fight for every place in order for the team to close in a sufficiently low score to take gold. A battling final position of 53rd ensured that the team filled the top spot on the podium.