Thetford youngsters revel in the mud

MUDLARKS: From left, Tom Mead, Kieron Moody, Harley Swan, Charlie Stone, with Jessica Norkett in fro

MUDLARKS: From left, Tom Mead, Kieron Moody, Harley Swan, Charlie Stone, with Jessica Norkett in front, and, inset, Aiden Try. - Credit: Archant

Thetford’s junior athletes endured the toughest conditions at this year’s English National Cross Country Championships.

Aiden Try.

Aiden Try. - Credit: Archant

It was London’s turn to host this annual event, taking place on the infamous Parliament Hill in the north of the capital. Thetford’s athletes came ready prepared for the challenge that Parliament Hill would present them, as did the rest of the athletes from clubs in the south of the country – this course is typically the venue for the South of England Cross Country Championships which were this year held in Brighton instead of two high-profile races at the same venue.

The sole female athlete to compete from Thetford was Jessica Norkett, a first-timer over this course. However, Norkett performed extremely well under stiff competition, managing a highly creditable 252nd position in her first year as an under-13 and tackling the mud-soaked course, known for its tough hills, in a time of 15 minutes and 29 seconds. A massive 433 youngsters completed the course, which indicates how impressive Norkett’s first time finish was.

The under-15 boys were well represented in the race, with Harley Swan the first Thetford athlete to come home in 147th position and with a time of 18:27. Tom Mead was the next Thetford athlete to cross the line in 195th place with a time of 18:48 followed by Aiden Try in 210th with a time of 18:56. There was a 280th-placed finish for Charlie Stone, who completed the course in 19:55, whilst Kieran Moody finished with a time of 20:16 for 306th spot.

Again, there was a large field with 371 athletes completing the course and many more starting the race but pulling out before the end due to the tough conditions underfoot.


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With so many Thetford boys competing, they also registered a team score and finished in 30th place out of the 37 teams who were able to field a full squad of four athletes. Tonbridge AC won the team event in the under-15 category with Miles Clisham from Coventry Godiva Harriers the overall race winner.

Elsewhere, two of Thetford’s junior athletes gave strong performances at the penultimate round of the Suffolk Winter Cross Country League which took place at Heveningham Hall near Stradbroke.

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Norkett was on form again to cross the line as the third under-13 girl in a time of 13:56 whilst Try was on song to also register a third-placed finish in the under-15s race with a time of 11:35.

Thetford’s senior athletes were also on show, with Kevin Vaughan securing first place in the men’s V50 category with a time of 34:14. In a double success for Thetford’s senior athletes, Louise White also registered a victory in the ladies’ V35 category with a time of 41:10. There was a fifth-placed finish for Tony Cantle in the V55 race with a time of 41:58. Paul Rayner finished with a time of 44:29 for 13th place in the V50 category.

Karl Wright was 32nd in the senior men’s category with a time of 40:59 whilst his father, Brian, crossed the line in a time of 45:50 for ninth place in the V60 category.

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