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Kent Schools XC   -   Canterbury (Blean Woods)  Saturday 14 January 2012

Hosted by Kent College - marshals by IEK parents & friends

   506 students finish 8 races compared to 464 one year ago at Swanley

      Host district - Canterbury & St Augustines - provide 69 runners and bag 4 team bronze

         total of 30 IEK members represent 4 School Districts - Canterbury, Thanet, SE Kent (ie.Dover) and Swale

The first 3 in each race at Blean are automatically selected for the Kent Schools team of 8 for English Schools in March

the remaining five selections depend on both Blean Wood races AND the races in Surrey on 4 February


Seven IEK automatic selections for English Schools XC - six more have 2nd chance (InterCounties 4 Feb) to impress selectors

Praised by many as the best organised County Schools Cross-country in many years, this year's event was hosted by Kent College at Blean Woods under the guidance of Claire Balsdon who also assists with the coaching of IEK's junior cross-country runners.

IEK provided 12 marshals from parents & friends of our young members

10.30 am  -  Senior Boys  -  Yrs 12 & 13

Bexley was the only District in Kent to field a complete team of 6-to-score - Canterbury Schools fielded three Seniors, Alistair Noel (13) Sam Hudson (14) and Jack Latham who was 18th

Manwood students Alex Newson (6) & Chris Thomas (8) both raced for SE Kent (Dover District) while the individual race was a 3-way affair : runnng for Thanet, Luke Dawson - 4th in Kent u-17s a week earlier - now took bronze, just yards behind Kent u-20 champion Kieran Reilly (SE Kent) after the two IEK boys had let Charlie Joslin Allen (u-17 Kent champion) get away in the first half of the race


11.05 am - Year 7 Girls

Three IEK members in this race - two for Canterbury Schools and one for Thanet Schools.  

Holly Fielder (15) got the judges' verdict when timed identically with Thanet's Emily Bond - in her first run at this level, Connie Willett was 19th - Lily Whitehead was 42nd for Thanet in a field of 94 finishers


11.25 am - Year 7 Boys

In the biggest field of the day - no fewer than 106 boys - Josh Richards (Thanet Schools) climbed to a splendid 6th after a patient first half when he was mostly 10-11th


11.45 am -  Junior Girls  -  Yrs 8 & 9

Five IEK members competed for either Canterbury or Thanet - with 3 IEK in the first 16 and, IEK-trained Lizzie Neal in 17th, just yards behind Lydia Gallyer Barnett.

This was Lydia's first race at this level, she was 2nd scorer for Canterbury District, who took team bronze.  

Leading the Canterbury Schools team, Anna Weston (bronze medallist last year) was In contention for medals from the start, winning silver after racing the whole way within 5 metres of Bromley's Sabrina Sinha, who pinched the gold medal by only 3 seconds. 

Second IEK girl was Ellen Whitehead who ran 9th for Thanet despite nursing a bruised left foot

1st and 2nd scorers for the Canterbury 'B' team which was 9th were Olivia Tomlin, making a welcome return after an absence and Annabel Knight, one of IEK's leading young sprinters, who were 49th and 55th in a field of 85 runners 


12.05 hrs - Inter Boys  -  Yrs 10 & 11

This race had six IEK, five representing Canterbury and Jack Smith (32) who ran for SE Kent (Dover District)

In this race 12 months ago, Jack was 38th, 2 places behind Adam McKenna who this time shot up the order to 23rd, as Canterbury District's 3rd scorer

James Pitcher & Barney Howard were Canterbury's leading pair in this year's Inters, as they were in last year's Juniors, but the order was reversed : last year Barney ran for Kent Schools at the English Schools in Nottingham after finishing 5th at Swanley where James was 14th - at Blean James was 8th & Barney 12th.

In teams of 6-to-score, Nolan Stuart (34 - up from 48th last year) & Ben Hall (36th in his debut at this level) were Canterbury's 4th and 5th scorers to secure team bronze in a field of 71 finishers

12.35 hrs  -  Junior Boys  -  Yrs 8 & 9

Only one IEK member made the start line among 79 boys - Max Shepley, 6th u-13 Kent AA Championships at Wilmington 12 months ago, has spent this winter racing older boys on the club scene as a first-year u-15. Max's competitive streak at Blean saw him finish only 15 seconds from the individual bronze medal

1 pm  -  Senior Girls  -  Yrs 12 & 13

In a race of 4-to-score, Tunbridge Wells won team gold by finishing 8, 9, 11 and 12 with IEK's Beth Burnett, (another one nursing a bruised foot) sandwiched in at No.10 when representing SE Kent Schools.

Ellie Hume (Thanet Schools) another IEK member in this field, looked strong and comfortable, taking silver to book her place in the Kent Schools team for Somerset.

One of the female performances of the day came from Rebecca Weston who, in only her 6th cross-country race in two seasons, is making a fabulous comeback -  Rebecca won the title, and looked particularly strong in the final phase.


1 pm  -  Inter Girls  -  Yrs 10 & 11

Representing 3 different Districts, no fewer than 5 IEK girls finished in the top 11 in a field of the best 41 female students in Kent - every single one of our girls raced in the intimidating all-red IEK club strip,

Although a big topic of the day, the titanic battle between Alex Clay and Bobby Clay did not diminish thrilling runs by the other three IEK - Emily McKane, who in 6th is blossoming as a focused racer - Amy Old, who was 8th despite stumbling mid-way - Lilly Coward who finally got the better of a season-long rival to finish 11th.

Alex and Bobby hadn't raced each other for almost two seasons and each had good reason to believe she could out-gun the other - Bobby with her fearless front-running, Alex with her notable strong closing phase.

In perfect sunny conditions the two raced each other with truly impressive focus for athletes so young, and, in the end, the 60-70metre gap Bobby had established on the opening lap was to be the difference, despite Alex's storming finish.

These two fine athletes will face each other once more this season when, together, they will lead a strong Kent Schools team at the English Schools in March.


No photographs of this event are available

Race distances at Blean Woods

     Year 7 girls  -  2.770 m      |     Year 7 boys  -  3,370 m

     Junior Girls  -  3,370 m      |    Junior Boys   -  4,200 m

     Inter & Senior Girls    (combined race)        -  4,200 m

     Inter Boys     -  5,340 m      |    Senior Boys   -  7,050 m


.   Course Map 2012 - Blean Woods     .

.   Timetable 2012 - Kent Schools XC at Blean Woods   .


          NB   -   St Augustines        =    Canterbury District

                       South East Kent    =    Dover District

                       Shepway                 =    Folkestone District

                       Swale                      =    Sittingbourne District