SOUTHEND AC’s Tom Frith turned on the style in his first Essex League cross-country race of the season to win the senior men’s race over an energy-sapping course.
The 20-year-old England international made running over the boggy hills and flooded fields of Basildon’s Gloucester Park look easy, finishing 30 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
It was one of a number of victories for south Essex athletes in round four of the league series.
Basildon AC’s Gus Withers won the under-13 boys’ race, Jodie Judd the under-15 girls’ race and George Elliott the under-15 boys event.
Frith was the only south Essex athlete to crack the top 10 in the senior men’s race and it was a similar story in the senior women’s race where only Basildon AC’s Karen Whitmarsh – with a fine run for fifth place – and Benfleet’s Charlotte Peppiatt (seventh) were among the leading athletes home.
It certainly wasn’t the case in the younger age groups, where once again south Essex athletes were the dominant force.
In the under-13 boys’ race, Withers was chased hard by Southend AC’s Toby Wright who came home in second place, while Withers’ Basildon team-mates Mitchel Cox (fourth) and James Perkins (eighth) also had good runs.
Southend High School for Girls’ Katie Faint was second behind her Chelmsford AC team-mate Khai Mhlanga in the under-13 girls’ race with Benfleet’s Megan Richardson running well to come home in fourth.
Canvey’s Jodie Judd gained revenge on Cambridge & Coleridge’s Alice Newcombe in the under-15 girls race. Newcombe beat Judd in the last race of the series at Chelmsford’s Hylands Park but was no match for her over the tougher Basildon course.
Benfleet’s Victoria Hiscock continues to impress with a third place finish just ahead of Rayleigh’s Millie Smith (Chelmsford AC, fourth). Basildon AC duo Isobel Ives and Jemima Walker were sixth and seventh.
George Elliott (Chelmsford AC) proved he is racing himself into top form by destroying the under-15 boys’ field. The Westcliff teenager finished well clear of second-placed Laurence Willmore (Southend AC).
Southend AC’s Adam Jordan ran very well for fourth, while the Basildon AC boys packed well to ensure they won the team honours, with Christian Gray (seventh), Max Jones (ninth), Ollie Cantwell (12th) and Ben Haynes (13th) making up the scoring team.
There was another Basildon win too in the under-17/20 women’s race, with Alice Perkins leading her team home in a fine second place. Behind her finished Jade Peel (eighth), Eleanor Johnson (ninth) and Maisie Jones (12th) to ensure the team victory. Gemma Holloway (Thurrock Harriers) was third.
In the under-17 men’s race, won by Colchester & Tendring’s Jordan Rowe, Basildon AC’s Adam Houchell (third) and Southend AC’s Ben Franklin (sixth) both ran strongly, with Franklin’s team-mate Rob Frith finishing in 10th.