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English Junior Uphill Championships – Sedbergh, 14 July 2012

junior-uphill-2012The last race in this year's FRA English Junior Championships provided the sting in the tail for the series, as it was uphill only – certainly a different test for the athletes! Last year, we took a couple of podium places and so 11 juniors made the trip to Sedbergh & the Howgill fells hoping to repeat that success.

Once again, the races took place on Winder, the hill that dominates the skyline of the town and on a warm & relatively dry day, there was some top quality racing throughout all the age-groups. We had no representation in the U8's, so looked to the U10's to set us on our way. Callum Durrans continued his great run of results in this year's championship by finishing 3rd in 6.40, ahead of George Hobbs, who was 12th in 7.51. Harry Hobbs was the sole Harrier in the U12's race & although he had been suffering with a chest infection during the week, battled hard over the 1.6km/175m climb to finish in 15.02 and claim his FRA hoodie for completing all 6 Championship races.

The U14's race climbed some 260m in 2km and we had 5 Harriers taking part. First back was Andrew Farquhar, 12th overall in 15.10, followed closely by the star performer of the day - Lucy Byram (who had to be persuaded to take part) finished 14th overall & 2nd girl in 15.21 and this in her first year in this age-group – a tremendous achievement! Just behind came her sister Erica (22nd overall & 9th girl) in 16.19, followed by Genevieve Durrans (26th overall, 13th girl) in 17.08 & Daisy-Mae Smith (33rd overall, 17th girl) in 19.22.
Lewis Byram & Eddie Hinchliffe are both in their first year as U16's, but both have done extremely well over the whole series. Lewis wasn't quite able to match last year's U14 victory, but still ran very well in a race dominated by his England team-mate, James Hall of Wharfedale Harriers and new European U23 Mountain Running star, Annabel Mason. On the 3.8km/395m course, James won in a time of 22.13, with Annabel 2nd overall in 22.31. Lewis was 6th overall (4th boy) in 23.34, whilst Eddie also ran a great race in the high class field, finishing 9th overall & 7th boy in 25.34. The U18's had the smallest field of only 12 runners and set off first, with Robert Smith acquitting himself well over the same 3.8km course, finishing 8th boy in 32.01.
The team prizes on the day were based on the best 3 results for both boys & girls from the U12's upwards, with local club & race hosts Helm Hill taking the top prize from Blackburn Harriers. Happily, the journey was worthwhile for Holmfirth, as the team of Lewis Byram, Eddie Hinchliffe, Robert Smith, Lucy Byram, Erica Byram & Genevieve Durrans finished 3rd and proudly collected their medals from Morgan Donnelly of Borrowdale, a past British Championship winner & one of the top fell runners in the country.

As this fixture also forms part of the English Junior Championships, the results on the day counted towards the final individual & club championships. With the best 4 results to count, we had a number of top 15 finishers throughout all the age-groups and in her first year at this level, Sunnivah Waterman was 8th GU12 from 43 entrants. In a very tight GU14 competition, we had 4 girls in the top 15, with pride of place going to Erica Byram, who finished 2nd overall. Genevieve Durrans was 10th overall, Daisy-Mae Smith (who completed all 6 races) was 11th & Lucy Byram 13th from 49 entrants. Lewis Byram again performed well over the series & finished 3rd U16, just ahead of Eddie Hinchliffe (another ever-present) who was 5th overall. Both will be set up nicely for their 2nd year as U16's in 2013, whilst Robert Smith will be back next year in the U18's, looking to improve on a very creditable 8th place.

The club championship is based on the best 3 results at each race and although we were 2nd after 4 races, the congested fixture list in June/July meant we were unable to maintain that placing & repeat last year's success. We still performed well over the whole series & whilst Helm Hill were worthy champions, scoring 867 points, we managed to finish 4th overall on 819 points, just 8 points behind 2nd placed Blackburn Harriers & 4 points behind 3rd placed Rossendale Harriers. Thanks to all our athletes who proudly raced for the club and thanks also to the parents who ferried them all over the north of England!

Next up is the Yorkshire Championships at Hellifield on 4th August, where we will be hoping to repeat last year's success and come home with some more Yorkshire champions.

Phil Hobbs

Pre-2012 news, results & reports are on the old sites: 2009 to 2011, Pre-2009

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