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20th Mar, 2024, Chris Bailey

I was very lucky to witness the performances of six of our athletes competing in the English Schools XC Championships in Pontefract, Yorkshire. The English Schools championships are the pinnacle of school age competition in this country.

We had Felix and Lauren representing Middlesex and Leoni, Sonny, Harris, and Thomas representing London. As the race was on the racecourse, our thoroughbreds coped with the soft but firm conditions.

First up was Leoni in the black of London worked well with the other girls from London and finished an excellent 81st in her first English Schools. Probably her best run of the cross-country season. Leoni is from the Chris and Hannah stables and paced her run to perfection.

Next up was Sonny Allen from the Rhonda stables, and this thoroughbred powered her way through to finish an excellent 32nd in her first of cross country running. She was the first London runner home, improving on her 3rd place finish at the London championships. The future looks bright for this runner.

The next young gate athlete running was Harris again from the Chris Rainsford stable and wearing the black of London. Harris worked his way through from about 35th on the first lap to a very respectable 19th. He admitted how strong the field was. Again a novice at the English Schools, he will come back next year stronger and wiser.

In the Senior Girls race, we had Lauren Russell in the purple and yellow vest of Middlesex. Trainers Chris and Hannah expected a top 10 finish and she didn't disappoint with an excellent 7th. The strength of the Senior Girls was so strong that the first two will represent Great Britain in the World Cross-Country Championships in Belgrave later in the month. Lauren ran her usual sensible race moving from about 30th to her 7th placing.

In the last race of the day, we had Thomas in the black of London and Felix in the purple and yellow of Middlesex. Both of these are from the Chris and Hannah stable and both worked their way through the field to finish in higher places than last year. Felix in 101st and Thomas 28th.

Well done to our runners and riders! So ends the cross country season for our juniors.

Up the Young Gate.