ADAM Hickey’s ambitions of a leading finish at the English Cross-Country Championships was ruined by illness.

Hickey went into the senior men’s race in Nottingham with an excellent record this winter behind him.

But the Southend AC athlete had picked up an illness leading up to the event and despite feeling fine for the first of three 4km laps at Wollaton Park, he started to fall away from the leaders after that.

Hickey said he was suffering from shooting pains in his chest and down one arm for the remainder of the race but refused to drop out of one of the biggest races of the year and eventually battled home in 12th place.

The 25-year-old was told by on-site medical staff afterwards that he was suffering from an inflamed lung due to a bug he had been fighting.

Hickey has revealed the illness should not keep him out of the next big race on the calendar, the UK Intercounties Cross-Country Championships in Birmingham next weekend.

After a few days off this week, he was back training on Wednesday and setting his sights on a strong run representing Essex in Birmingham.

Basildon AC’s Grant Webb had a good run in the senior men’s race in Nottingham, coming home in 229th place in a massive field of 1,657 runners.

Webb’s training partner Tom Richardson also had a good day, coming through the field in the 10km junior men’s race to finish in 28th position. Southend’s Oliver Kyriakides was 111th.

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Tom Richardson

Gemma Kersey (Basildon AC) had another strong run in the senior women’s race, finishing 17th, five places ahead of training partner Faye Fullerton.

Another athlete who has been suffering from illness, Thurrock Harriers’ Gemma Holloway dug deep to finish 16th in the under-17 women’s race while Southend AC youngster Joanna Rimmington was 79th in the under-13 girls race.

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Gemma Kersey 

The under-15 girls race had the most south Essex representation.

Canvey’s Jodie Judd was 63rd and the third scorer in the Chelmsford AC team that finished sixth overall. Southend High School for Girls’ Katie Faint just missed out on the scoring team, finishing 116th.

Basildon AC pair Jemima Walker and Megan Richardson were 148th and 203rd respectively.

Southend AC’s Craig Wheeler was the sole south Essex representative in the under-13 boys race, finishing 138th.

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Gemma Holloway

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Jodie Judd

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Joanna Rimmington

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Grant Webb