Midland marvels enjoy a clean sweep of cross-country medals
Team Bath AC’s triumphant under-13s boys’ cross-country team have targeted national glory after adding the Midland Counties title to their South West crown last weekend.
Twin brothers John and Robert Howorth shrugged off snowy conditions at Stafford Common to finish first and second in their age group, clocking 11mins and 11:04 respectively.
Henry Dixon completed a clean sweep of individual medals by finishing third and Themis Bower produced arguably his best run yet to cross the line in sixth, 36 places better than a year ago.
That put the quartet miles clear of their rivals in the team standings and sets them up perfectly for the English National Cross Country Championships, taking place in Sunderland on February 23.
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Team Bath chairman Dave Coales raved: “That was another fantastic achievement. The Howorth brothers clearly have tremendous talent and it is to their credit, as well as coach Adrian Clover, that they are doing so well.
“The whole club is very proud of them.”
John had lost his shoe in heavy mud during the South West Championships in Devon, so wore his old spikes on Saturday.
And that proved to be a wise decision as many runners struggled to keep their feet in thick snow, including brother Robert who took a tumble and dropped to fourth.
But he was not to be denied and, with the finish line in sight, stormed back to grab second behind his brother while the fast-finishing Dixon pipped Wolverhampton & Bilston’s Ryan Hodgkiss to third in 11:05.
Team Bath’s Rebecca Pierce ran well in the senior women’s race to finish 19th in 27:35, while Craig Bridges was the club’s top senior male in 186th and George Chapman clocked 20:26 to place 49th in the under-17 men’s event.
* Avon’s young athletes will look to cash in on home advantage when the South West Schools’ Cross-Country Championships take place at Blaise Castle on Saturday.
There are several strong medal candidates including 11-year-old Royal High School pupil Laura McNab, who won the minor girls’ title at the Avon Championships earlier this month.
She will be joined in the minor girls’ squad by Kingswood School duo Lilly Landman and Alexandra Hart, while King Edward’s pupil George Chapman and Norton Hill’s Paige Matthews are in the inter boys and senior girls teams respectively.
Avon’s runners will take on the best from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Somerset but not Wiltshire, who will finally be staging their trials on Saturday having had to cancel them twice.
* Corsham Running Club’s Stuart Henderson held off a strong Team Bath challenge to win the Slaughterford nine-mile multi-terrain race on Sunday.
Henderson enjoyed a 15-second gap over Guy Woods, who was top veteran over-50, and Luke Sturgess-Durden was third.
David Vaudin and Nick Parry also made the top 20 out of 341 finishers, with Paul King, Tom Hutchinson and Nick Watson inside the top 50.
Alison Vuagniaux won the veteran over-45s prize as she placed 82nd overall.
* Sunday’s Longleat 10k marks the launch of the 2013 Wiltshire Road Race League. Visit www.wiltshire-athletics.org.uk for further details.
* The Chronicle’s athletics coverage is sponsored by Running Bath, Bath’s specialist running shop. Catering for runners of all abilities, from complete beginners to experienced athletes, it offers a wide range of running footwear, apparel and accessories. Visit Running Bath at 18 High Street, Bath, call 01225 462555 or log on to www.runningbath.co.uk.