Mansfield Harriers had four athletes competing in the UK cross country challenge event at Sefton Park Liverpool at the weekend. The competition was also the qualifying event for the Great Britain team for the European Cross Country Championships in December and the fields were probably the strongest assembled in the UK this year.

Archie Rayner after having his last cross country season wrecked by illness put in a superb performance In the Under 20 race. Giving up to 2 years to his rivals Rayner showed he is on the way back to his best finishing 25th recording a time of 21.21 for the 6.7k course, only fading in the last quarter of the race as his lack of races finally took its toll. Rayner will now be looking to have two months of solid training to be ready and competitive for the championship races next year.

Alex Rieley also had a superb run in the Under 20 race finishing 28th position in a time of 21.25. The Birmingham University student had the misfortune of someone falling in front of him at the start which meant he was right at the back after about 400 metres. Rieley coming into the race in great shape managed to pick his way through the field but will feel his placing could have been much higher.

In the Under 17 men’s race Luke Dufy also put in a fantastic run to place 23rd in a time of 17.54 for the 5.5k distance. Duffy had a superb summer on the track and after choosing not to do the cross country season last year has decided with his coach to concentrate on it this winter with the aim to come out strong for next summer. Giving a year in age to most of his rivals Duffy will look to improve significantly from this his first cross country race in 18 months as the winter progresses.

Bethany Williams competed in the Under 20 ladies race finishing an impressive 37th place recording a time of 16.20 for the 4.4k course also giving up to 2 years in age to her rivals. Williams will now see herself firstly as an 800 metre runner and with an indoor track season to look forward to this winter will see this as a great indication that her training is going well.

Five Mansfield Under 11 athletes competed in the Nottinghamshire Sportshall Octathlon event at Oak Tree Leisure Centre on Sunday. This is a new event for the Nottinghamshire clubs and big numbers competed from the clubs across the county.

The club had one boy competing Matthew Young and he carried on his fantastic winter across all disciplines by finishing 2nd overall which is even more impressive with him giving most of his rivals a year in age. Young came second in the year 5 County Quadkids event last week and has also excelled at cross country this winter.

Although the full results are not out yet the four Under 11 girls were magnificent with year 5 Quadkid County Champion Zoe Spencer, Tammy Smith, Matilda Evans and Georgina Brown competing. All four put in some superb individual performances across the events as they battled for points.

Picture below of Archie Rayner.