East End runners triumph at cross country dash

Cross-country runners Photo: Richard McMillan

City athletes run cross country. Photo: Richard McMillan

With the 2012 Games less than two years away, the athletes of London came out in full force last Saturday for the annual Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill.

Athletes from across the East London line were well represented along the course. Cambridge Harriers‘ Dean Lacy finished first in the seniors’ division and second overall in the final results, with a time of 32 minutes and 49 seconds, just half a second off overall leader, Mehretab Solomon of London Heathside.

Out of the 34 events Lacy has entered this year, Parliament Hill represented his 28th top ten finish. He also shaved almost nine minutes off the time he ran (41.57) during the National Championship race held at Parliament Hill in February.

Chris Smith of Thames Valley AC was next highest of the club members based along the East London line, finishing a creditable seventh overall with a time of 33.48. In total, five Thames Valley AC members finished among the top 100.

The women were less successful. Thames Valley’s Lisa Da Silva was the only top-100 finisher, placing 17th with a time of 23.13, two minutes shy of overall winner Julia Bleasdale of Hillingdon.

Youth runners also triumphed, with Croydon Harriers‘ Peter Chambers winning three medals. In the U15 category, a 14-year-old Trinity schoolboy closed fast after a slow start, but had to settle for a silver medal.

Having held back at the start, Chambers eased himself into contention as the course unravelled, and appeared to be closing on eventual winner James McMurray of St Albans on the final downhill stretch, but had to settle for second.

He won the London champion award and was first home for the Surrey team, which finished in third, giving the 14-year-old one gold, one silver and one bronze medal.

The next cross-country race to be held in the East London line regions will be the Surrey championships, scheduled for Saturday, 9 January at Croydon’s Lloyd Park.

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