Russell continues fine winning run

For the first time in a number of years the Norfolk AAA Cross Country Championships returned to Thetford.

Ben Russell continued where he started this year. After winning the Wymondham 10k race on New Year's Day he retained the Norfolk Senior cross country title. Running from the front, the Liverpool Harrier completed the 9.3 km course in 25min 58 sec. He built up a half-minute lead over the second-placed athlete James Peston of Wymondham. James O'Neill (Ryston) finished in 3rd place.

The Ryston club continued their success in the women's 6km race with Marie French breaking new ground winning in 21min 48 sec. She built up a clear lead over City of Norwich athlete Nicola Alford. The ever-popular veteran's races saw Neil Davison take the men's title and Jane Clark retain the women's title. All of the races were over the fairly flat area at Barnham Common just outside Thetford. Success also came for City of Norwich AC athletes.

In the junior men's 8km race Martainn Ramsay built up a clear lead over the fast-improving Oliver Maskell. In the under 17 men's race Tom Hook, who has already made a name for himself this winter by winning the Southern Counties Inter County race, again ran from the front in the 6km race to finish ahead of the much-improved Scott Greeves. Nastassja Potgeiter was a clear winner of the under 17 girls' 6km race. In the under 15 age groups there were decisive victories for Ellie Drake of the Diss club and for Ashley Waterson in the boys' 4km event. Athletes finishing in the first three places at Thetford can be assured of selection of the televised National Inter County championships at Birmingham in March.

Selection for the London Mini Marathon in April will also be based on the championships.

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The successful event was organised by the Thetford club. The next championship in the cross country calendar will be the Norfolk Schools event in Norwich on January 25.

City of Norwich athlete Iona Lake ran the race of her life to finish 5th for Great Britain in the junior ladies' race in the match between GB, Europe and the USA at Edinburgh.

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