Rising stars dominate fields at Bolesworth Castle Castle on Saturday as we bring you coverage of the age-group races
While a large proportion of Britain’s top seniors no longer have the English National on their must do list, the vast majority of England’s top juniors do and there were extra special victories for two of Britain’s most exciting talents, Will Barnicoat and Innes FitzGerald.
Where’s there a Will
European champion Barnicoat won his third successive English National title as he retained his junior crown following an earlier under-17 victory and while most of the previous junior winners finished out on their feet due to the uphill finish and headwind, the Aldershot runner finished full of smiles, high-fiving the spectators and was immediately ready to talk to reporters!
Prior to his three wins, which might well have been four but for the missed Covid year, he had twice finished second.
Once he pulled clear of his junior rivals, the nearest he came to a fellow athlete was overtaking some of the women runners that had yet to finish.
He said: “It was a big win and it was a good way to end my junior career before I join the big boys. I just wanted to enjoy it as I was pretty confident I would win. I got out and clear and then really enjoyed the course. I’ve had a great season and just want to carry that form on to the track. There I want to run a fast 1500m and 5000m and make the European under-23s.”
He won over the 10km course in 31:40 with Southampton’s Ben Brown (32:27) and Joe Ponter (32:37) perhaps more surprisingly taking the other medals.
Southern athletes took the first five places even though none of the South of England medallists featured nor did Poole’s Edward Bird who was 18th and leading Briton in Australia, and though entered wisely chose not to compete.
Brown, who broke 30 minutes in the Telford 10km, had finished second at Cardiff and sixth at Milton Keynes but then a lowly 21st at Liverpool in his previous major cross-country race also three months ago.
Ponter had only been 25th at Liverpool but had finished third at Perth in the race regarded as an unofficial World Cross-Country Champs trial.
Tonbridge, led by Edward Coutts in eighth and with four in 25, easily won the team event from Aldershot with Wirral third.
Innes FitzGerald could surely have challenged for under-20 honours given her Liverpool and Cardiff junior victories and…
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