Middle distance joy for Dacorum & Tring’s young athletes

Grace Birdseye and Joshua van Heiningen with their awards for finishing as first Juniors (U16) in the Berkhamsted Five Mile Fun Run. Picture (c) Vanessa Champion

Grace Birdseye and Joshua van Heiningen with their awards for finishing as first Juniors (U16) in the Berkhamsted Five Mile Fun Run. Picture (c) Vanessa Champion

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Dacorum & Tring AC’s Middle Distance Squad – guided by top-level athletics coach Mike Dunphy – ended the weekend on a high, with medals, personal bests and strong team places won by a total of 19 young athletes in three different events around the country.

Kristian Imroth, the recently-crowned Herts county cross country champion in the U15 boys’ age group, competed at the English Schools Cross Country Championships, held at Wollaton Park, Nottingham and he finished a fantastic 11th overall out of 337 finishers in the junior boys’ race.

In other cross country action, young Olivia Edwards emerged as a talent to watch in the 2015-16 North West London League cross country series, as she finished the five-event series ranked first overall in the U11 girls’ age group at Wormwood Scrubs in London. She finished the 1,200m course in second place in a time of 4.48 – only four seconds off top spot.

Her team-mates also put on a superb show, with Amy Cassidy and Jessica Benveniste posting their best results yet in the series; the two girls finished the 2,000m course in fourth and sixth respectively as their results contributed to a third-placed finish in the series for the U13 girls’ team.

In the U11 boys’ race, Sam Day and Niall Cassidy battled a competitive field of over 60 boys to finish 36th and 44th respectively on the 2,000m course, while Michael Armstrong ran strongly in the U13 boys’ race, contested over 2,800m, to cross the line in sixth place.

With Sam Burnell finishing 23rd, the two ended the day as second-placed team, with their results going towards a fourth-place finish overall in the series for the U13 boys’ team.

Finally, a group of 11 squad members took on the Berkhamsted Five Mile Fun Run, a challenging course involving the mile-long climb up Bullbeggars Road to Potten End, and came away with three awards and a number of personal bests.

Sarah Grover, an 800m specialist, finished second overall out of 249 female finishers in the women’s race in a time of 32.21, with Grace Birdseye close behind in 34.29, fast enough for fourth lady overall. Next were Izzy Painter in 35.35 and twins Maddie and Amy Perry, who crossed the line together in 38.12.

For the boys, Joshua Van Heiningen finished fifth overall out of 233 male finishers in a time of 29.54, and he was chased the whole way by teammate Rhys Rowlands, who was sixth with a time of 29.57.

Big PBs were scored by young Freddie Truman Williams, 12th in 32.32, and Jamie Bailey, 13th in 32.37, with Ethan Brimmer and Paddy Read rounding out the boys’ results in 37.42 and 37.44 respectively.

To cap off a fine day,Joshua and Grace were awarded the prize for the first U17 boy and girl across the line, with Joshua successfully defending the title he won last year.