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Harrier Georgia shines in Nationals
10:04am Thursday 28th February 2013 in Sport
Ilkley Harriers’ rising star Georgia Malir produced another fine performance in the National Cross Country Championships at Herrington Park in Sunderland.
Twenty-three junior Ilkley Harriers raced with enthusiasm, commitment and determination despite the difficult the snowy weather and underfoot conditions.
There was much excitement for the first race of the day with Malir running in the under-17s race having previously won the Northern Championships at the end of January.
Spectators could hardly see the runners on the far parts of the course as the snow was coming down heavily but they could glimpse Georgia working hard to stay near the head of the race.
Her 13th place overall in a field of 150 runners was a fantastic achievement.
The next race was the under-15 boys where Harriers had three runners – Tom Kerr finished in 128th with Ruaridh Mon-Williams in 133rd just four seconds behind. James Pickering was 209th.
The next three races provided Ilkley with three team placings which bodes well for the future.
By now the underfoot conditions had become deep and slippy mud.
The under-13 girls were out in force with eight competitors.
The team finished in 20th place and was led home by Beth Morley in 166th place. Alessandra Ricci (170th), Molly Jeffels (190th), Emily Elmes (207th), Ella Shouler-Harris (219th), Eva Jeffels (223rd), Jess Burgess (228th) and Megan Hayes (235th) all battled hard.
By the time the under-15 girls race took place it had stopped snowing but it was still bitterly cold. Six girls raced and they gained an impressive 15th team placing.
Sarah Pickering had a good run to finish 60th overall with Lucy Williamson in 86th, Josie Clarke (150th), Ellie Coones (161st), Joanne Williamson (167th) and Elizabeth Westhead (184th).
The final junior race of the day was the under-13 boys. It was particularly difficult for them as it was hard to get warm and most of them ran with frozen feet.Despite this Euan Brennan finished in an excellent 57th with Francis Westhead just three seconds behind in 62nd place.
Robbie Matthews finished 151st, Oscar Stapleton (172nd) and Ben Clarke (185th). This gave them an excellent 16th team place.
Conditions did take their toll and both Euan and Francis had to be assisted at the end to get warm with Francis ending up wrapped in a space blanket.
Team official Shirley Wood said: “Everyone ran their best and it was a pleasure to have been there on the day to witness the racing.
“Almost everyone who travelled on the coach was still there at the end to cheer Dave Westhead in the senior men's race along the run in to the finish.”
Cross Country captain Westhead rounded off a memorable day for Ilkley racing to 371st out of 1,000 runners.
In the senior ladies race Sally Morley finished 80th in a quality field in 36:13.