Report and photos by Allen Cook.
The West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League provides young people from the age range 9 to 17 the opportunity to get away from their computer consoles, games machines, mobile phones and televisions to participate in events that test them. They not only have to battle against the elements (which can vary from warm sunshine to freezing rain and snow) but to run at a variety of venues, which present challenges such as mud, long clumpy grass, pools, ditches and hills Each athlete is dressed in running kit which offers no protection against the conditions and there is no hot shower at the end of the race, so the athletes have to go home sometimes caked in mud. Of course they are not only racing in these testing conditions but they are racing as individuals and as part of a team against other young people hell bent on doing better than them. Last but not least they are running against themselves and whether they are at the end of the race in the top ten or at the back of the field they know that in the next race, if they train hard in the meantime they stand a chance of bettering themselves providing them with the ultimate personal challenge.
In being a member of the team and as individuals, the challenges give them the opportunity to build their characters, mentally and physically and of course not forgetting the relationships that they form on and off the course with their team mates, training partners, coaches and competitors.
Final League positions.
On a rainy, cold, miserable and muddy day on Sunday last the Tamworth AC young athletes set out to once again to test their grit. The race was the last in the series and at the end of the race the league tables were completed. Athletes from 20 of the regions clubs took part in the event making it quite a spectacle.
The highest placed male athlete was Toby Wootton (U11B) who came 6th in the individual league with a consistent run in each of the races, earning himself a medal. Eve Clawley (U15G) was the club’s highest placed female athlete coming 7th in the league, unfortunately just missing out of the medals.
The highest placed Tamworth team was the Under 13 boys who came 4th in the team league, just falling short of the bronze medal.
The results here only include those athletes who completed at least three of the five races.
In the under 17 women’s races Charlotte Bush finished 11th in the individual table, while Emily Findlater (normally a sprinter) finished in a commendable 34th place. There were 68 runners and the team finished 8th in the team competition.
In the under 17 men’s team James Oakley was the highest in 19th place, followed by Tom Holloway 30th, Bradley Hammond 45th and finally Andrew Woods 52nd.. There were 83 runners and the team finished 6th in the team competition.
The under 15 girls had Eve Clawley 7th, Katie Stretton 55th, Charlotte Perry 68th, Sophie Perry 71st and Sian Lewis 79th.. The girls gave a good account of themselves considering there were 138 runners and 3 of the girls only competed in 3 of the five races nevertheless adding valuable points to the overall team score of 8th place.
Under 15 boys had Max Kent 12th, James Sherriff 26th, James Walker 43rd and Lewis Fulleylove 79th. There were 131 runners and the team finished a good 10th in the table.
The under 13 girls were Abi Hamer who was 8th, Emily Pearce 41st, Tegan Vickery 45th, Ellie Gauntlett 57th and Imogen Mulligan 104th. Bearing in mind that the girls in the lower positions contributed valuable points to the overall team position of 8th in the table.
The under 13 boys had 8 athletes. James Stretton 10th, Ben Edwards 12th, Oran Au 33rd, Kai Buckley 46th, Daniel Aston 55th, Harry Chesterton 63rd, Kian Dickson 64th and Caydon Fairburm 70th.. they were against 155 runners and finished 4th in the table.
The under 11 girls had Saoirse Au 30th, Connie Allen 44th, Freya Cole 45th, Angelica Rakmee 53rd, Daisy Smth 56th, Natasha Lee 84th and Kirsten McClaren 98th.. . There were 196 runners and the girls finished in a strong 9th position in the league table.
The under 11 boys were Toby Wootton 6th, Jacob Williams 78th, Oliver Aston 90th, Luca Bradley 109th and Oisin Au 118th. Running against 197 runners the boys finished a very good 6th position in the league table.