Hampshire Athletics Cross-Country Championships 2020
4th January at Fairthorne Manor
The Isle of Wight has three new County Champions in Cross Country Athletics, In Campbell Laird, Henry McLuckie and Charlie Metcalf. Over 800 runners took to the fields and woodlands around Fairthorne Manor near Botley on Saturday – and five clubs were represented by Island runners: Isle of Wight Athletic Club (IWAC); Ryde Harriers (Ryde); Isle of Wight Triathlon Club (WTri); Southampton and Kingston & Poly Harriers.
Youngest Age Groups Started first – with Scott Fossa out sprinting two other U11 boys to claim a great silver medal – and also a team gold with his Southampton club. Jasper Jenkinson was 47th for WTri and Oliver Flood 59th for IWAC. For the girls Katie Bunn did well for 13th (WTri) followed by Maisie Gibson (23rd) and Abigail Fancourt (50th) for IWAC. Archie Pearson (9th) was the only U13 boy from the Island – and Freya Taylor the only girl – both for IWAC, Freya unlucky to miss a top 12 position by just 2 seconds. From U13 and above the top 12 in each race receive a letter to invite athletes to apply for a spot in the Hampshire team.
U15’s saw five Island boys complete the course, Noah and Jacob Patey 39th and 43rd – followed by IWAC teammate Jackson Hill in 66th. WTri had Benjamin Van Der Helstraete (64th) and Billy Williams (68th). Seven Island girls raced in the U15 category – with Robyn Fossa again the fastest finishing in 6th for Southampton who also took team gold. Maisey Kent had a great start and finished 18th, Lily Barclay and Naomi Holdsworth were 29th and 30th with Mia Stillwell and Charlotte Fancourt 44th and 52nd (all IWAC). Orla Gradwell was 55th for WTri.
The U17 and U20 races started together – with the older competitors running a slightly longer course. This left spectators with the sight of two gold vests at the front of the action, Henry McLuckie winning the U20’s race and Campbell Laird with a perfectly paced run to get gold in the U17’s race (both IWAC). James Fletcher (WTri) and Dylan Holdsworth (IWAC) also finished the U17’s course in 15th and 20th respectively. There were no Island girls in the U20’s event but Mabel Lewis (11th) and Milly Bacon (17th) both completed the U17 event for IWAC.
Charlie Metcalfe (Ryde) ran strongly in the Senior Women’s race to take 11th overall 1st in her age category (W40) – the third Island champion of the day. Ryde had a big team with Jodie Wilmott (10th W35 woman), Claire Campbell (10th W40), Rosie Eldridge (17th W40) and Natalie Rose (30th SW). Sarah Probert had a fantastic run – negotiating a tough off road course with limited vision – coming in with guide runner Samantha Fancourt in 19th and 20th W40 to big support from the crowd. For IWAC Katie Lewis was 11th W40 in the event. Senior Men were last off although the well marshalled course held up well and was a lot less muddy than usual. First Islander home was Dan Eckersley (10th) with Adam Tuck (Ryde) 28th in the Senior Men’s (SM) category. Trevor McAlistair (Ryde) was 60th SM, followed in by Simon Lewis (IWAC) (16th M45) and Nigel Eldridge (Ryde) (20th M45). Ken Beak and Glenn Sharman (both Ryde) finished 10th and 11th in the M55 category.
Hampshire hosts one of the most competitive Cross Country Championships in the UK and it is thanks to the club volunteers, coaches, and team managers that so many Islanders can participate. Thanks also to Wightlink who helped with travel on the day for many of the athletes and teams.
Congratulations to U17 Campbell Laird – who was 18th in the Inter Counties Match – enough to secure Hampshire the team Bronze Medal. Campbell was 4th Hampshire Athlete home (first 4 from the county score).
Robyn Fossa who trains with the Endurance Group also had a great race in the U15 Girls and was 7th (3rd Hampshire athlete) – and the very strong team won the Gold Medal.
Athletes from the Isle of Wight represented four clubs at the third round of the Hampshire Cross Country League – held in Aldershot on Saturday. Very strong competition from athletes across the Southern area made getting a good result tough – but three Islanders were in the top 10 of their events including a win for Scott Fossa (Southmpton). The course was a mix of fields and woods – and the sun shone on the 1000 competitors.
Freya Taylor (Isle of Wight AC – IWAC) completed the U13 Girls race in 30th place, just before Archie Pearson (IWAC) finished 9th in the U13 Boys event. His teammates Finn McMahon (39th) and James Heng (47th) followed Archie home and Jasper Evans was 57th for IOW Tri. U15 Girls was a big race and Robyn Fossa came a brilliant 3rd for Southampton – four IWAC runners gave a good team performance with Maisie Kent (19th), Naomi Holdsworth (22nd), Lily Barclay a well deserved 27th and Evie Taylor 46th. U15 boys for IWAC were Noah Patey (43rd) and Jackson Hill (63rd) – with a team from IOW Tri comprising of Gethin Hepworth (51st), Benjamin Van Der Helstraete (61st) and Josh Sunnucks (65th).
In the U17 Girls race Mabel Lewis (12th) and Milly Bacon (23rd) ran for IWAC and Kaitlin Wilson was 25th for IOW tri. One of the highlights of the day for the Island was a battle over 6km with IWAC’s Campbell Laird getting 3rd place – teammates followed him back with Niall Powell (28th), Max Collins (30th) and Dylan Holdsworth (35th). Following winner Scott Fossa in the U11 race was Jasper Jenkinson (30th) for IOW Tri.
For the Senior Races Ryde Harriers entered with Justine Bacon the only female in a good 107th (41st Vet). Trevor McAlistair had a terrific run to come 150th, 154th (43rd Vet) was Steve Haggerty (IWAC) was 154th (43rd Vet), with Ken Oatley 206th (78th Vet), Graham Gardener 212th (82nd Vet) and Ken Beak 236th (103rd Vet) all proudly wearing their Ryde Harriers vests. Thanks to the coaches and team managers.
Archie Pearson – 9th in the Boys U13 race.