CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Cross-country runners’ mud and guts

Athletes show stamina to tackle running challenge on the Heath in London Youth Games

23 November, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Camden’s Under-11s boys and girls teams on the Hampstead Heath track

THE mud was sent soaring on Saturday as cross-country runners from across Camden and Islington hit Hampstead Heath to take part in the London Youth Games.

All 33 of the capital’s boroughs entered boys’ and girls’ squads into the competition in four age groups – Under-11s, Under-13s, Under-15s and Under17s – covering distances between 1.5 and 4.5 kilometres, depending on age and gender.

Team Camden had plenty of reason to celebrate as they “entered the largest number of athletes in their history” into the event, with 79 youngsters donning the Converse-styled All Stars T-shirts. The contingent was made up of members from Highgate Harriers Athletics Club and young runners who gave an excellent account of themselves at the Camden Schools Cross-Country Championships in October. And it proved a successful formula, with the borough finishing in a creditable 13th position overall in the boys’ competition and 16th in the girls’ event.

Islington Under-13s boys, from left: Ivor Joslin, Stan Hasson, Fred Wharf, Gregory Beresford-Sweet and Jim Parfitt

The borough’s highest-placed individual came in the boys’ Under-17s race where Jonah Kramer finished the testing 4.5km course in 17 minutes, 11 seconds – earning him eighth place out of a field of 132 runners.

There were also strong finishes form Jacques Lorraine and Paul Opie. Jacques completed his 1.5km Under-11s race in 6.27mins to take 16th place out of 149 runners, a position matched by Paul in the Under-13s race after he completed his 2km course in 7.41mins to place 16th out of a field of 232.

Camden Under-17s girls at the Heath track, Maxine Chapman, Hailey Knowles, Emilia Perry-Poletti, Isabella Millett and Millie Dunne

In the girls’ competition Camden’s highest-placed finisher was Klea Karanikolas, who completed her 1.5km Under-11s race in 6.48mins to finish 18th out of 165 entrants.

Islington Under-17s athletes Martina Curcio and Honey Millard-Cothier completed 4km runs

“We had a lot of runners who do not run regularly take part in the event this year and many of them enjoyed it so much that they are now looking to join a regular running club in the borough in preparation for next year’s competition,” said Camden team manager Ben Dorsett, from Camden Council’s Sport and Physical Activity Service. “It was great to see so many young people don the Camden colours at this fantastic event.”

Camden’s Jonah Kramer on his way to an impressive eighth

There was also plenty of reason for the boys’ team from Islington to let out a few cheers at Parliament Hill Fields. They moved up two places on their final position from last year, taking 24th spot this time around, despite having only one runner, Jaidon Dodson, in the Under-17s age group. Jaidon finished his 4.5km race in 19 minutes flat to take 59th spot out of a field of 132 runners.

Islington’s Bedo Draskoczy and Lucas Macnair

Islington also put in a series of spirited performances in the girls’ competition, with Honey Millard-Cothier finishing the Under-17s race, which was run over 4km, in 13.02mins to take 29th place out of 99 runners. In the same age group team-mate Martina Curcio raced around in 14.39mins to take 67th spot.

Unfortunately, as Islington were unable to field at least three athletes in any one age group, they didn’t receive an overall placing.

Islington team manager Daniel Bank said: “I want to thank London Heathside for providing the majority of our runners, and a special credit goes to any Islington runners who are not yet connected to an athletics club.”

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