Harriers build on school's cross-country success

Hattie Reynolds in action at a running event last year.

Hattie Reynolds in action. The young runner recorded another outstanding performance for the North Norfolk Harriers. - Credit: Tony Payne

A demanding week for the North Norfolk Harriers saw many of its athletes compete at two important county and regional competitions within four days.

Mid-week, Langley School south of Norwich hosted the Norfolk Schools Cross-Country Championships in which The Harriers youngsters represented their schools, and where a top ten finish would guarantee selection to wear Norfolk colours at the Anglian Schools Cross-Country Champs at Woodbridge School in Suffolk next weekend.

Clear favourite in the Senior Girls race, Hattie Reynolds (Gresham’s School), blitzed the 3.9km course and romped to victory, with the excellent Grace Buchanan (Paston College) coming home in second place.

A delighted Stevie Ashby (Aylsham High School) secured her first County title by winning the Intermediate Girls race in fine style over 3.8km. Junior Rosie Dickety (Aylsham High School) competed over 3km and booked her place on the team bus to Suffolk with an excellent second place finish.

Max Parsley’s (Fakenham Academy) fourth place finish in the Junior Boys 4.7km race also confirmed his place at the Anglian Schools Championships.

Senior Girl Martha Shawyer (Sheringham Sixth Form College), Senior Boy Henry Jonas (Paston College), Intermediate Girls Esme Jonas (Cromer Academy) Evie Hood (Gresham’s School) Abbi McCallum and Georgia Pegg (Wymondham College) have all been selected to compete at the Anglian Schools champs along with Junior Boy Jonah Life (Broadland High School).

The competition was ratcheted up a level at the weekend at the South of England ‘Southern’ Cross-Country Championships in Beckenham, South London.

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The stand-out performance once again came from Hattie Reynolds after adding the South of England Champion title to her growing list of recent victories. Cruising over a tough undulating course in the 5km Under 17 Girls race, Hattie proved too hot to handle for the other girls, crossing the line a comfortable 11 seconds ahead of her nearest rival.

Hattie is also the current Southern Inter County Champion, Norfolk County Champion and Norfolk Schools County Champion, and, with three more major championship races upcoming, plus a 3000m indoor race on the horizon, Hattie will be planning her training very carefully in order to maintain her rich vein of form.

The best athletic talent in the south of the UK were on show at the weekend with 12 Harriers setting off from Holt for the journey to South London.

Grace Buchanan in Under 20 Ladies race was delighted with her 12th place finish over 6km, while Henry Jonas in the Under 17 Boys also over 6km displayed improved form to finish 23rd in a field of 140. For The Harriers’ Under 15 athletes Max Parsley, Henry Padfield, Tom Smith, Rosie Dickety, Esme Jonas, Evie Hood and Ava Mears, plus Under 17 Girl Abbi McCallum, this major championship proved to be invaluable experience as the Harriers look ahead to increasingly tough competition.