Storm Dennis claimed another casualty as the Discovery Park, Notley venue was closed on Saturday, forcing the cancellation of the final Essex Cross Country League fixture. With a rearranged date not feasible, this meant that the league standings and individual titles were based on the best three results of the previous four rounds. As the Havering teams had already won two age groups and headed the table in four others, it meant that they claimed an impressive six team titles. Wins in two individual age categories added to the season’s success.
The senior men had already sealed the league title with wins in three of the four fixtures, and second in the other, making it their third successive league title. And the senior ladies were also crowned champions for the second year running, after not winning the title in the 15 previous years. The Veteran Men also claimed the league title, edging out a strong challenge from Southend who had won the final two rounds.
The under 15 Boys had already been confirmed as champions after round 4, with an unbeatable three wins and a second place, and the Under 15 girls also lifted the league title with three wins out of four.
The sixth team prize went to the Under 13 Boys who finished level on points with Southend but claimed the title on count back as they had a better “worst score”.
There were two senior individual titles as Rob Warner won for the second successive year after another fine season while the ever-improving Morgan Campbell took her first Women’s title, after placing fourth overall last year, with teammate Ginte Bailey runner up for a second year. Sam Atkins (U20 Men), Steve Rand (M45), Matt Bland (M50) and Charlotte Evans (U13G) were also runners up and third places went to Charlie Howell (U15B), Emily James (U20W), Barry Smith (M40) and Tony Pecoraro (M55).
This weekend sees club athletes in National Championship action. On Saturday Nottingham’s Wollaton Park hosts the National Cross Country Championships with club athletes competing in most races while the Spar British Indoor Senior Championships take place in Glasgow, with Shandell Taylor among the men’s long jump acceptances.
The club has its largest entry for several years in the England Athletics Indoor Under 15, Supporting 17 and Under 20 championships at Sheffield this weekend.
New club record holder Sam Sanusi is a medal contender in the Under 17 Men’s 60m hurdles, with training partner Jacob Blanc, last year’s Under 15 silver medallist, also challenging for a top 6 place. South of England Champion Stephanie Okoro will be seeking her first National podium place in the Under 15 girls’ 300m and Southern runner-up Paris King, hopes to add to her club 60m hurdles record with a final place or better in the same age group.
Last year’s English Schools’ junior triple jump champion Chris Brown faces strong opposition in the Under 17 event, and improving Essex & Eastern medallists Richard Akinyebo (U20M 200m) and Karis Thomas (U17W 60m) will be in contention for final places if they hit top form.
Also in action are Denzel Achi (U17 60m and long jump), siblings Ridwan Salaam (U17M 60m) and Al-Ameen Salaam in the U17 & U15 60m sprints respectively, and Ruby Tillson in the U15G 60m hurdles who will gain useful experience at this level.