Photo gallery: Hundreds compete in Norfolk Cross Country Championships

Norfolk Schools Cross Country Championships 2016 at Sloughbottom Park. Start of the U13's girls race

Norfolk Schools Cross Country Championships 2016 at Sloughbottom Park. Start of the U13's girls race.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The top young cross country runners from every corner of Norfolk arrived at Sloughbottom Park in Norwich for the annual schools country championships.

Over 400 athletes took part, making for a great sporting spectacle. Although there were winners and there were athletes hoping to qualify for county teams, this was also a big mass participation event too.

The senior boys race proved to be quite a close one with Luke Spear using his experience to finish ahead of the fast improving Logan Smith in the 6.4km course.

The lead changed hands several times during the event. Jack White, fresh from finishing second in the under-15 race at the British Athletics Cardiff Cross Challenge event in Wales on Sunday, won the boys event convincingly with Tom Greenacre taking second place.

Sophie Alden, who became the British junior women's triathlon champion last summer, dominated the senior girls 3.2km race over the flat, grassland course.

Alice Rees, another to show a big improvement this winter, ran well to take the second place in the race. In the under-17 girls event Rachel Bruce took the championship.

In the under-15 boys 3.2km race Will Simm overcame an injury scare to dominate the event and win by 40 seconds ahead of W Mahoney.

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The under 15 girls race had perhaps the highest standard of all with Meredith Winship winning in seven minutes and 51 seconds, a few seconds ahead of Nelly Porter and Katie Goldsmith. This is surely the age group that will perform best at the English Schools event in March at Nottingham.

In the under-13 age group the girls 1.6km race was won by Gemma Jermy by some distance. C Parsons was the winner of the 2.2km boys race.

The myth that cross country running in the county was in decline was surely dispelled by the keenness of competition shown by the young athletes.

As a result of the championships teams have been selected to represent Norfolk in the Anglian Schools event at Boston next month.

City of Norwich cross country runners will be in action at the Southern Counties championships at Parliament Hill in London at the weekend.

It is hoped that the English Schools cross country championships will be held at the Royal Norfolk Showground in Norwich next year. Now that would be a spectacle.

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