On a dry but cold January morning in Lloyd Park, Croydon Walton athletes did themselves proud against strong opposition in the Surrey Cross Country Championships.
The under 13 Boys got things under way and came 6th place in the team race, led home by Ben Shepperd who came 11th, Alex Histon Allvey 27th, Harry Tuckman 40th and Christian Boyd 57th.
Next up was the under 17 Men with Ben Fitzpatrick showing his immense talent and coming home in 3rd place. Next home was Tom Jones 12th, Oliver Coppolletti 14th, Joshua Taylor 23rd, Michael Cottrill 26th, Edward Dawson 29th, Ben Palmer 30th and Archie Forsyth 39th. The under 17 Men secured second place in the team race.
The next race was the 15 Boys over 4km. With a fast and furious pace been set by the leaders from the gun. Ollie Emment in his first year in the age group had one of his best ever runs, showing maturity way beyond his years to secure the bronze medal. Next home was Jack Gemmell in 12th followed by Ross Hurst 27th, Joseph Daws-Twilley 28th, Josh Punton 41st, Christopher Vaughan 47th, Harvey McAndrew 48th and Callum Stewart 72nd. The boys all did tremendously well and secured the silver medal in the team race.
With only two Walton athletes Eloise Williams and Erin Simper in the under 15 Girls race, and having their first taste in this level of competition they were going to always find this tough but both girls committed themselves well and came home in 62nd (Eloise)and 71st (Erin) places respectively.
Last of the junior races was the under 17 women and for majority it was their first cross country race of the season. But all four girls did amazing. Charlotte Vaughan was 8th, Emma Horsey 11th Rachel Pharaoh 14th and Lani Cardwell 20th. The team finished in 6th place.
Last race of the day was the senior men. An enthusiastic team of 9 runners tackled the 12km course. Some good racing at the front end supported by decent packing further down saw the team finish 8th (an improvement of last year’s 9th place) and a great result considering the team’s current standing in the Surrey League, in the lower part of the second division. The team (six scoring) was Duncan Woolmer (38th, 42:16), Hugo Fleming (53rd, 43:41), Andrew Crooks (48th, 43:06), Chris de Mauny (84th, 46:12), Rob Lovegrove (99th, 47:01), Matt Pharaoh (122nd, 48:31), Rob Marcus (128th, 49:01), Rob Casebourne (137th, 49:39), Rob Smith (169th, 52:00) and Martin Willis (238th, 1:12:01).