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Kent Cross Country Championships 2017

There were an incredible 39 finishers from Invicta East Kent AC at this year's Kent Cross Country Championships at Brands Hatch this weekend.


It was a rather murky morning making spectating decidedly challenging at times but this also meant that there were some lovely surprises as the runners emerged from the fog!


The U13 girls were first to set off into the gloom at a quick pace but soon settled into a more sensible rhythm, conscious that these championships see an increase in distance compared with the Kent League events. It is a real challenge! Positions changed throughout the race and, as our girls made their way up the final long drag, Ellie Laffey found herself at the front of the Invicta pack, finishing strongly in 14th place. Jildou Chappell was close behind in 19th with Isabelle Harding and


Eliza Mills battling it out into 25th and 26th place respectively. Tallulah Butcher came in next in a super 45th place. Well done girls.


And so to the U13 boys, taking on a 3100m mix of fast and flat followed by some unpleasant ascents! Tom Hutton was in fine form again finishing an excellent 10th. Isaac Waters, Kado Bateman and Harrison White battled hard, doing the team proud finishing 43rd, 53rd and 73rd. A great effort in their first Championship event.


The U15 girls followed and in a thrilling race Alexandra Millard ran strongly in the leading group before stretching away in the last 400m to claim the gold medal and automatic selection to run for Kent in the National Inter-Counties Championships at Loughborough in March. A well deserved success for Alexandra's coach, Peter Mullervy. Allegra Hinds, in her first IEKAC outing ran brilliantly to come in 16th. Louise Flynn ran a strong first half, coming home in 30th, followed by Aella Bateman in 41st, another debut runner. This lovely group of ladies won team bronze.


The U15 boys team were equally impressive and also brought home a team bronze. Charlie Brisley had an immense battle in the last 50 metres of the course with a top runner from Dartford Harriers but kicked away to win Invicta's second gold medal of the morning. Congratulations to him and his coach, James McNeil for their hard work in training. Charlie gains automatic Kent selection.


Matthew Stonier was the next IEKAC athlete home in an impressive and quietly confident 7th! He should gain Kent selection too.


Oscar Parrick is making consistent improvements and should be delighted with 16th place amongst this strong field of athletes. Sam Newson followed into a terrific 23rd and Joseph Fox worked hard and earned a creditable 44th. Well done!


The U17 ladies had a very successful outing too with Ella Fox, coached also by Peter Mullervy, adding to the medal haul with a fabulous 3rd place. Ella looked strong and determined throughout the 5.5K course gaining Kent selection. Similarly determined were Jessica Carley and Alice Mount, working hard to maintain and improve their positions through the race into 15th and 19th respectively. Esther Laffey was impressive, sticking to the task in hand and finishing in 29th.


The U17 men were fairly consistent with their league placings and they showed excellent endurance over their gruelling 6.5K course. Jo Griffiths was first home for Invicta in 14th place, battling against various others successfully in the home straight. He was followed by Marcus Etheridge in 21st and Jo Whitby in 34th.


The U20 ladies raced exceptionally well with Anna Weston running strongly into silver medal position. Congratulations to her and coach James Roberts. University life and training are obviously suiting Anna well, securing her an automatic Kent Selction. Sarah Hall, ran an even paced race, working hard up the hills and finishing in an excellent 6th place.


Thomas Platts was the only U20 male representative at this event and looked in control at all times. He worked hard to stay with a small group of runners and was rewarded with 14th place at the finish.


The Senior Men and Women finished the day. Abel Tsegay and Michael Gallyer-Barnett represented the men in a long 12k race. Abel raced strongly, maintaining his position just off the lead group for the majority of the race, rallying in the final stages to come in 5th, with the same time as the 4th placed athlete. Michael thoroughly enjoyed his run out on this course and was highly delighted to finish in a very respectable time.


Final congratulations to Sarah Hotham for her 10th place on the W40 category and 43rd place overall in the Senior Women. She ran a sensible and determined race, working hard up the ascents and using the descents to her advantage.


A very successful day at the races for Invicta East Kent. Congratulations to all who took part and to Ralph, Peter and James for their expert coaching and motivational tactics. Finally, we must say a huge thank you to Nikki for organising, compiling and completing all of the cross country entries this year whilst juggling many other administrative and organisational tasks for the club. The enormity of this task must not be taken for granted. Thank you Nikki.


Helena Millard