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Norfolk Showground plays hosts to England ‘s cross-country stars

PUBLISHED: 08:49 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:12 21 March 2017

Norfolk's Jake White in the Inter Boys event in which he finished 40th. Picture: Tony Payne.

Norfolk's Jake White in the Inter Boys event in which he finished 40th. Picture: Tony Payne.

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The Norfolk Showground proved to be an excellent venue for the English Schools cross country championships.

Nelly Porter, who was 32nd in the intermediate girls race. Picture|: Tony Payne.Nelly Porter, who was 32nd in the intermediate girls race. Picture|: Tony Payne.

More than 2,000 of the best young athletes in England and their many supporters arrived in their droves.

The courses, with a very good view for spectators, were largely flat and fast.

There are few more spectacular sights in athletics than the stampede of 350 runners trying to get the best possible start in their race.

The event was organised by the English schools planning committee with the assistance of a knowledgeable team of local volunteers drawn from clubs, teaching, Athletics Norfolk and Active Norfolk. On the day 120 volunteers from the counties clubs marshaled the entire course and provided invaluable help with the administration of the event. Without the local volunteers the event would not have been the success it was.

Kate Willis finished an excellent 15th in the junior girls' race. Picture: Tony PayneKate Willis finished an excellent 15th in the junior girls' race. Picture: Tony Payne

Not only did they come from English counties but there were also entrants who travelled to Norfolk from the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The best performance from a Norfolk athlete came from the fast-improving Kate Willis, who had a great run to finish 15th in the highly competitive under 15 girls’ 3.25-kilometre race.

She was followed home by Jessica Norkett in 64th place with the team finishing in 17th place overall.

The under 17 girls’ team were led home by Nelly Porter, in 32nd position, and followed by Meredith Winship in 70th and Ellie Taylor, 99th, with the team of six scorers finishing 15th in the 3.75km race.

The start of the junior boys' race at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Tony PayneThe start of the junior boys' race at the Norfolk Showground. Picture: Tony Payne

Norfolk’s best performance in the boys’ races came in the under 17 six-kilometre race.

Jack Taylor came home in 40th place with William Mahoney in 59th.

Overall Norfolk’s performances, in what was essentially a home event for those involved, were a bit disappointing.

It is more than likely that Britain`s future international runners will have taken part in these championships, such is the importance of the event.

One athlete who caught the eye was Ben Dijkstra from Leicestershire who won the last championships event of the day, the senior boys’ seven-kilometre event.

There is no doubt that the championships were a spectacular event which required a great deal of planning and organisation.

The general view was that Norfolk did it very well. Next year the champiionships will move on to Leeds.

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