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South of England XC 2007   Norfolk

Beth wins in style

   Rebecca Weston (5th) leads u-13 Girls to 9th team

      Chris Thomas (4th) is only seconds away from silver

SEAAXC2007-BethCarter.JPGBeth Carter is pictured left heading up the final hill to win the South of England u-15 Girls Cross-country title at Holkham Hall Norfolk, 100m ahead of Melissa Courtney (Poole) herself 4 seconds clear of bronze medallist Camilla Freeman, the SEAA champion of 2005, when Carter had finished a distant 71st.

Beth’s storming win was on the cards as two recent races announced her arrival on the big stage : at the beginning of January, Beth had narrowly lost by only 30 metres the Kent title to Freeman at Detling, the closest any Kent runner had come to Freeman in two years, and then, only one week ago Beth won the Intermediate Girls title at the Kent Schools at Somerhill School, Tonbridge by an unprecedented 350 metres, blowing away all opposition including Grace Nicholls, herself 3rd in that famous 2005 race where Beth was 71st. 

Beth’s success is all the sweeter in view of the limited, old-fashioned training programme within IEK’s young athletes squad which imposes only a fraction of her rivals’ workload, centering on quality sessions on the Club’s two club nights, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The light programme regularly fosters disbelief among rivals - and their coaches - especially as it has brought success to other young IEK members, like twice u-17 county champion Lily Martin, to England Schools internationals Charlotte Dale and Diana Jeffery, and also to u-15 club 1500m record holder Abbie Hayward.

Other success stories at Norfolk come from the other u-15 girls Leah Samarasinghe and Danielle Fraser..... from the u-13 boys trio of Thomas, Balsdon and Hudson..... and from the u-13 girls team who were 9th of 25 clubs across the region.

Leah (8th finisher from Kent) all but fulfilled club trainer James Roberts’s prediction of a top 35 finish at u-15 with a strong run for 38th in 16mins 27 secs, while Danielle (97) achieved her target of finishing in the top 100 in only her 2nd ever race in spikes.

In a pre-Christmas regional intercounty race, Kent u13 champion Rebecca Weston had finished 14th after an over-enthusiastic start – at Norfolk she played a waiting game in the first half of her 3,000m race against the best in the region and, in finishing 5th, was only 6 seconds short of the bronze medal. Annabel Carter (52) Holly McCurry (83) and Beth Burnett (97) all made fine debut runs at this level for the team to finish 9th while county champions, Tonbridge were taking team silver.

Manwood student Chris Thomas was 5 seconds short of silver and only 1 second away from the bronze medal in a powerful blanket finish of six athletes as he led Invicta’s trio of Grade 1 800m runners – Jack Balsdon looked composed in 19th despite competing against boys one year older while Sam Hudson showed the benefit of continued fitness training when crossing the line in 45th, the 12th athlete from Kent

In the u-20 Women, Lily Martin continues to regain the fitness lost to outside commitments, and was the third Kent athlete home in 11th one minute behind county champion Bryony Proctor of Blackheath Bromley.

In the u-20 Men, both the Kent silver medallist Rob Dennis (4th Kent finisher) and Chris Holmes (10th Kent runner) had off days as they finished 23rd and 57th respectively, with winner of the Canterbury 10 mile prize, Lynton Lithgoe, 2 minutes behind Holmes in 66th place.

Amy Hill Turner, our lone u-17 Girl (68th) was 10 seconds behind the Cambridge Harrier who had finished 4th Intermediate girl in the Kent Schools one week earlier. Meanwhile, Faversham’s Andy Cope kept composed for 48th with Rowan Williams (71) and Nick Little (78) respectively 11th and 13th Kent u17 finishers.

Lisa Clayton maintained a unique Invicta record of runs in all age groups at these regional Championships, leading the red-vested Senior Ladies home in 90th with newcomer N. Bent (136) and evergreen Ruth Kay in 50mins 10 secs for 198th place.

  In a field of 553 finishers, Invicta’s Senior Men’s team - in 24th, the first Kent club, ahead of Bexley and Dulwich Runners - were led home by Mike Gore (168 in 56.50) and Mark Wilkins (185 in 57.23) supported by Peter Bowell (221 in 58.45) and John Wilkins, showing he still has what it takes by finishing only 6 secs behind Bowell.  The reds’ scorers were completed by Trevor Edgeley (340th in 60.03) and A. Martin crossing the line in 65.15 in 366th place