THE cream of Essex’s cross-country runners represented their county at the Southern Intercounties Championships – and there was plenty of success for the red vests.
Highlights from those athletes based in the south of the county included a fine individual win for Westcliff’s George Elliott in the under-15 boys race, while superb medal-winning runs from Gemma Holloway and Alice Perkins led the county to its only team win of the day in the under-17 women’s race.
There was also a bronze individual medal for Gus Withers in the under-13 boys event, a silver for Gemma Kersey in the under-23 women’s race and team bronzes for the under-13 and under-15 boys. Elliott got the better of a high class field to take the under-15 boys title and strong support from his Essex team-mates ensured the team won a bronze medal.
Basildon AC’s Max Jones had a very strong run to finish in 15th place and Adam Jordan (Southend AC) also impressed in 25th spot as they both won team bronzes.
In the under-17 women’s race, Thurrock Harriers’ Holloway showed her best form of the winter by winning a silver medal behind the Kent prodigy Bobby Clay.
Holloway finished within 30 seconds of Clay – who won selection for last weekend’s European Cross-Country Championships but was not old enough to compete – to show she is getting back to her best after a series of niggling injuries.
And the find of the cross-country season, Basildon AC’s Alice Perkins, proved she can mix it with the very best in the country too, by winning a fabulous bronze medal.
With Havering Mayesbrook’s Lydia Hallam fourth and Woodford’s Amelia Barrett 13th, Essex were clear winners in the team standings as Holloway and Perkins returned home with two medals apiece.
Also running well were Basildon quartet Maisie Jones (22nd), Emma Houchell (31st), Kaylee Dodd (32nd) and Poppy Aitmarri (53rd).
Another Basildon AC athlete, Gus Withers, continued his impressive cross-country season with a strong run for third place in the under-13 boys race, finishing just five seconds behind the winner.
Toby Wright (Southend AC) was a decent 13th place and Mason Webb (Basildon AC) 62nd.
Kersey won a silver in the under-23 women’s race that was run alongside the seniors.
The Basildon AC athlete was among a leading group of five for much of the race but the leading pack splintered in the final stages, with Kersey coming home fifth and second under-23.
Colchester’s Jordan Rowe won the under-17 men’s race for Essex and Basildon AC’s Adam Houchell and Southend AC’s Ben Franklin were among the four scorers with Rowe to win a bronze medal in the team event, with Houchell 20th and Franklin 36th.
In an incredibly strong under-15 girls race, Jodie Judd finished ninth to lead the Essex team home, with Basildon AC’s Isobel Ives 25th, Benfleet’s Victoria Hiscock 38th and Southend AC’s Lucy Kidwell 70th.
The first Essex win of the day came in the under-13 girls race courtesy of Khai Mhlanga, while Basildon AC’s Niamh Smith (29th) and Benfleet’s Megan Richardson (33rd) both ran well in the colours of their county.
In the under-20 women’s race, Basildon AC duo Eleanor Johnson and Amy Webb were 17th and 30th with Southend’s Jordan Lacey 40th.