The rain held off just long enough for the all ten races at the Tri-County Cross-Country event held at Bath University on Sunday 11th December 2011 to take place in the dry. Although before the clear up was finished the rain was evident and a complete downpour followed the final volunteers getting in their cars. The aim of the Tri-County Championships was to try and ensure that there were good sized fields but despite the success of last year’s trial event numbers were still low for the 2011 series of races.
The under-11 girls race saw 20 finishers with Sophie Jones (6:58) of Queen’s College Taunton a clear winner from Harriet Emery (7:29) of North Somerset, with Anne Jones of Westbury Harriers in third place (7:41). The under-11 boys saw a 1-2 for Chris Ellis (7:08) and Dylan Dukes (7:17) both of Wells City Harriers. Harry Feehily – a new addition to Alison Hurford’s group was seventh in the race in 7:41 a result that saw him pick up his first medal – as Avon Champion.
The under-13 girl’s race was a competitive affair with 32 finishers. Ellie Wallace of North Somerset was race winner in 10:20. Eloise Brown finished nineteenth in 12:21 (seventh in Avon). Behind her Frances Smalldridge thirty-first in 14:44 and Martha Dinham thirty-second in 17:27 completed the trio of Bristol & West finishers.
The under-13 boy’s was another competitive race with 30 finishers with the first four places being filled by runners from three different clubs/schools. Alison Hurford’s boys again ran well with Tom Krause sixth home and Avon runner-up in 10:24. Behind him Billy Cochrane was eighth and third Avon athlete in 10:31. George Green and Anton Mills were tenth and eleventh (10:41.4 and 10:42.6) for fourth and fifth. Newcomer Joseph Feehily was twenty-fifth (ninth Avon athlete) in 11:59.
Jess Monk was tenth in the under-15 girl’s race to take second place in the Avon Championship race in 14:49 with Elena Evans twenty-sixth (seventh Avon) in 16:49. In the equivalent boy’s race there were 27 finishers but only 1 from Avon and none from the club – potential medals went begging here!
The under-17 and under-20 age groups were run together for both the men and women to try and achieve a critical mass. Olivia Sadler was a clear winner of the ladies race in 16:35 to take the Avon under-20 title twenty seconds clear of Alex Stainhope of Team Bath – one of only six under-20 finishers. There were fourteen finishers in the under-17 ladies’ race with none from Bristol & West.
The combined under-20 and under-17 men’s field numbered 38 finishers and the club showed its strength (or at least part of it) as Charlie Maclean comfortably won the under-20’s race in 20:20 to become Somerset Champion. In fourth place Adam Speake (21:44) was third in the Somerset championships, whilst in seventh place in the race Matt Deacon (22:46) took the Avon Silver medal just four seconds down on Felix McGrath of Westbury Harriers. In the under-17 race the Bristol & West duo of Will Christofi and Zak Tobias battled it out with Will winning by under 3 seconds (21:04 to 21:07). Kieran Young finished fifteenth in 22:59.
The Senior Women’s Race saw a clean sweep by Team Bath as Laura Parsonage (23:52), Georgia Wood (25:07) and Rebecca Pierce (25:12) showed all the other ladies a clean pair of heels. Diana Kennedy was first club finisher in fourth place in 25:27. Charlotte Green showed grit and determination to finish ninth in 26:40, a great result for a novice at such events. Clare Joliffe was next home (and was first F45 (sorry Clare)) and was followed by Sarah Everitt (who celebrated her coming of age as an F45 the previous day) with seventeenth and second F45 in 28:55. One second behind Sarah was Emma Bowers in 28:56 in eighteenth place. Not surprisingly Team Bath won the Tri-County Women’s race but in second place Bristol & West Athletic Club edged out Westbury Harriers by one point in the four to score competition.
The biggest field of the day was the Senior Men’s race where the seventy-one finishers were led home by Bath University student Ben Nagy (who was racing as a guest) in 32:19. Behind him Nathan Young was race ‘winner’ and Somerset Champion in 32:58. This was a welcome return to form for Nathan and with Nathan still under-20 in the Midland and National cross-countries the prospect of a quartet including Charlie Maclean, Dan Studley, Nathan, Adam Speak and Matt Deacon in these races is encouraging for the future of the club. Dan Woolford in fourth place (34:02) was a clear Wiltshire champion but with newcomer Mohamed Osman our third finisher in fifty-eighth place there was never a question of the club closing a senior men’s team. The honour of being the first senior men’s Tri-County Team winners went to local rivals Westbury Harriers – and congratulations to them, for getting their men out on the day.