Georgie leads way as Stratford AC runners show grit

Ellie Bryan, Abbie Wootton, Georgie Campbell and Imogen Sheppard line up for the camera at Nottingham.

NINE Stratford-upon-Avon AC athletes were in the Warwickshire team for the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Nottingham’s Wollaton Park last weekend.

First off was Jess Sheppard in the Inter Girls’ age group. Sheppard is mostly a 300/400m track runner so to make the team is quite an achievement so she was happy to be seventh in the county team and 321st overall.

Next in the junior boys’ team was Will Crowfoot (325th), who was the first of Stratford’s trio of debutants.

Crowfoot enjoyed the race and finished quickly on the long downhill finish straight, making up several places.

Half of the Warwickshire junior girls’ team were from Stratford, including the other two who were running at these championships for the first time.

Georgie Campbell (170th) had been second at the County Championships, but led the team home in another solid run after her 38th in the National the previous week.

Imogen Sheppard (251st) was third for the team followed by Abbie Wootton (308th) and Ellie Bryan (332nd).

Campbell and Bryan will be in the same age group next year and will be looking to continue to improve as they have this season.

Finally, Oscar Barbour and Fergus Allison have just moved up to the senior boys team so were looking forward to the longer race.

Allison (275th) started very quickly on the first lap, showing his inexperience at this level. Unfortunately, he paid for the start by fading back down the field over the next two laps.

Somehow he found new energy to sprint down the finish straight making up 30 places in the final 300m. Taking the opposite approach, Barbour (218th) had an easy start but looked strong all through the race and moved past other runners all through the race.