Thetford athletes in action at UK Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships

Thet Thetford AC athletes who took part at the British Athletics UK Inter-Counties Cross-Country Cha

Thet Thetford AC athletes who took part at the British Athletics UK Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships in Birmingham. - Credit: Submitted

Athletes from Thetford wore the yellow, red and black stripes of Norfolk as they represented their county at British Athletics UK Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships, which once again took place at their regular haunt of Cofton Park, Birmingham.

More than 3,000 of the country’s most talented athletes converge on the 135 acres of open space at the heart of the Midlands, usually ready to face a horrendously muddy and challenging course. However, whilst the undulating landscape still provided a difficult test for the athletes, there was little in the way of mud to be found, with the dry spell that had preceded this year’s event making for the firmest ground that athletes attending the UK Championships had faced in years.

The young athletes from Thetford were also in very good company with some familiar names amongst the senior men’s and senior women’s race as the event also doubles as the World Cross Country Trials. British athlete Lily Partridge took the honours in the senior women’s race with Team GB’s Jess Judd, more recognisable on the track competing in 800m races as opposed to on the cross country course, 11th.

Thetford’s and Norfolk’s Joe Smythe was the first local athlete to take part in the under-13s boys’ race. Smythe completed the 3km course in a time of 13:31 minutes and was the fifth Norfolk athlete home in 176th position. Tommy Dawson won the event for Yorkshire in a time of 11:48 with his county also taking the team honours whilst Norfolk finished 20th out of the 40 participating counties.

The under-15s boys competed over a 4.5km course with Harley Swan finishing as the second Norfolk athlete in 179th position and with a time of 19:30. Aiden Try was next to cross the line for Norfolk with a time of 19:53 and 216th place whilst Tom Mead was just behind with a time of 19:57 and 223rd spot. Kieron Moody finished the race in 290th position with a time of 21:16. Overall, Norfolk finished the team competition in 39th place out of the 41 counties taking part with the North East taking top spot. Zakariya Mahamed, representing Hampshire, won the race with a time of 16:58.

Thetford’s Jessica Norkett represented Norfolk in the under-13s girls’ race and finished in 262nd position with a time of 15:27. However, this was a highly successful category for Norfolk, finishing third in the team event behind the winners Merseyside and the runners-up, Surrey.

If reading about all this local success has prompted readers to don their running shoes, then senior athletes around the region are being asked to sign up for the annual Breckland 10K road race, taking place on Bank Holiday Monday, May 4, starting in Croxton village at 11am – affiliated club members £12 and £14 for unattached runners. There will also be a ‘fun run’ for under-11s at £2 per child. Got to via and with the race always extremely well attended, early booking is recommended.