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by leem

October 11, 2010

Northern Athletics Cross country relays

At Graves Park, Sheffield on Saturday 9th October 2010. The same Birtley Trio of Paige, Sophie and Lydia from the road relay champs traveled to Sheffield for the inaugural running of the Northern Crosscountry champs. With confidence and experience after their 4th placing a week earlier the 3 managed to move into the medal placing with an excellent 3rd place. Race report By Adrian Bailes Following on from last weeks successes at the northern road relays the under 15 girls team prepared for the 2 and a half hour haul to Sheffield. The group of Paige Gilhespy, Sophie Forster, Lydia Turner with there parents and friend Adrian Bailes all met at the turners house at 8 o clock and by half 8 we set off with Tony Forster leading us and Julie Turner following in convoy. After the journey we arrived slightly rushed to make it to the start of the race in time. All in good spirit the team ran to the start of the race and Tony collected the team numbers whilst the team did a group warm up. The team were all determined to go at least one place than last weeks 4th place and Paige set off for a quick 2k with two ‘large (or so they say) hills in it. As I stood at the top of this hill, I now realized how large the hill was by some of the grimaces on some of the athletes faces. Paige got up the hill very well and then worked hard chasing the athletes ahead of her and finished the first leg in 13th position. Next person to take to the course was Sophie Forster and she set off rapidly and then the next time I saw her at the top of the hill she seemed to have maintained that harsh pace she started with. Although she thought that at the top of the hill she came out at the next corner she continued pushing on and finished her leg with Chelsea Jarvis of Stockport harriers who won the English schools 800m last year chasing her down but Sophie managed to hold her off and complete her leg in an impressive 5th place. Now it was the last leg and we were set up for an exciting last leg with the four athletes ahead of Lydia all with considerable gaps she like Sophie and Paige set off chasing down the athletes before her determined to get a medal. At the top of the hill Lydia came around in 4th place and with about 400m left Lydia passed the girl in 3rd place and had the team in the bronze medal position. Lydia battled hard and managed to pull away from the girl who was now in 4th place and she was chasing down 1st and 2nd race but as they turned the corner into the finishing straight the two leaders raced each other neck and neck all the way and the gap was just too big for Lydia to catch them up. The team finished the relay in 3rd place beating Stockport Harriers who won last weeks road relays. It was a very good day out and well worth the journey. The team were more than satisfied with there bronze medal in the northern cross country relays. For the Evening Chronicles coverage click here

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