Dacorum & Tring AC’s middle distance squad came away with some fine results at the first cross-country race of the season at a fixture held in Greenford, Ealing.
The squad of 14 runners, ranging in age from 10 to 16, posted seven top-10 individual results, with 10-year-old Olivia Edwards only three seconds shy of winning the U11 girls’ race, while the U15 girls’ team recorded the top team result – finishing fourth in their age group in a hotly-contested race.
Olivia ran a controlled race over the 1,200m course to finish in second place in 5:48 minutes – only three seconds behind first place, with her coach Michael Dunphy convinced she would have taken top honours if the race had been slightly longer and more challenging.
In the U13 girls’ race, Jessica Hoar was first across the line for the club, completing the 1,600m course in 13th position in 7:48. Olivia Moore (23rd) and Amy Cassidy (24th) finished in 8:05 and 8:06 respectively in their first cross country outing for the club, helping the U13 girls’ team to a seventh-placed finish.
The U15 girls finished a superb fourth overall in a highly competitive race, with Maddie Perry crossing the line in eighth place, in a time of 9:05 for the 2,200m course – only 19 second off top spot. Indira Patel was close behind in 13th position in 9:30 while Hannah Knight, in her first race for the club, posted a time of 10:58.
Grace Birdseye, meanwhile, was the only Dacorum runner in the U17 women’s race, held over a 3,00m course, and finished a superb fifth in a time of 15:43. On the boys’ side, the U13 squad was boosted by a strong debut performance by Michael Armstrong, who grabbed third place in a sprint finish with a time of 8:30, while Thomas Ashton overtook a number of rivals in the finishing metres to finish 15th in a time of 9:18 over the 2,200m course.
The U15 boys finished fifth as a team on the day over their 4,000m race, with Kristian Imroth taking third place behind two Shaftesbury Barnet runners in a time of 12:53. Jamie Ayres took another top-10 spot with his eighth-placed finish of 13:36, while Luke Burford finished 33rd in his cross country debut in a time of 15:56.
Rhys Rowlands, the sole entrant in the U17 men’s 4,700m race, finished in 15:58 – fast enough for fourth spot and only five seconds off the podium.
Dunphy was honoured with an invitation to take part in the special 50th anniversary race of the event, as he had run in the original race in 1965, but was unable to compete. He was, however, content to watch his young squad record one of the best starts to the cross-country season in recent years.