Derby AC’s Ben Connor put the Midlands on the map by winning the senior men’s (12K) race at the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships (Sat 25 February), Wollaton Park in Nottingham.
Connor crossed the line in 39:35 followed by Alex Teuten of Southampton AC in 39:49 with Sam Stabler of Owls AC Leicester coming third in 39:59. This was an impressive performance by Connor who improved on his 20th place in last year’s National Cross Country Championships at Donnington Park.
Since then he has been on top form with a series of victories that include the 2016 Derby 10K with a new course record; the Northern XC Championships at Knowsley Park in Liverpool and the Armagh 5K Annual International Road Race where he posted a PB.
Jessica Judd of Chelmsford AC won the 8K senior women’s (8K) race in a time of 29:07. Louise Small of Aldershot Farnham & District AC was second in 29:10 with Claire Duck of Leeds City AC third in 29:21.
Other wins included Ellis Cross (Junior Men), Harriet Knowles-Jones (Junior Women), James Puxty (U17 Men), Amelia Quirk (U17 Women), Kristian Imroth (U15 Boys), Olivia Grace Mason (U15 Girls) Jaden Kennedy (U13 Boys) and Maisy Luke (U13 Girls).
10 age groups contested this year’s championships with 5191 finishers overall. They battled their way around a very tough, muddy course including a water feature and a ditch that pushed minds and bodies to their limits!
The English Cross Country Association
reported increased numbers of entries across all age categories in this year’s event that bodes well for the future of the sport.