Charlton leads the way in Leeds

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Sam Charlton winning the ESAA in Leeds, 2019. Photo: Melissa Gresswell.

Sam Charlton of Northumberland county took the Senior Boys race in style yesterday afternoon in Leeds. The Wallsend Harrier added the New Balance English Schools National title to his extensive list of victories this cross country season, making it his forth major victory. Just two weeks’ ago, he took the Inter Counties gold in Loughborough and the English and Northern titles earlier this 2019 season.

The course yesterday afternoon was brutal to say the least. On arrival, the ground was relatively soft, but strong winds and heavy downpours saw it quickly transform into a mud bath. By the time the Senior Boys entered the pens ready for the final race of the day, the ground was already significantly churned by the junior categories. But, this didn’t faze the North Eastern athlete, who was clear of David Stone of Middlesex by 9 seconds (21:38 and 21:47 for 6.7km). It was a good day for team Middlesex, as teammate Jem O’Flaherty finished in third.

It was the Inter Girls who kick started the action in Temple Newsam Park though. The race distance was approximately 3.7km. Beatrice Wood was the hot favourite and looked to be ready to take the title. However, Bethany Cook of Sussex ran the race of her life and it was her gold for the taking. She began to push hard and created a 13 second gap between herself (13:13) and Wood (13:26) who had to settle for the silver. Early leader, Emily Shaw of Dorset, took the bronze.

Lewis Sullivan fought hard through the wind, rain and mud in the Junior Boy’s race, which was progressively worsening as the day went on. Like the Inter Girls race, he created a significant gap between himself and the rest of the field, and even had time to play to the crowd in the final 100m, raising his arms in the air and celebrating on the final run for home. He finished in a time of 13:23 (4.1km) His family were certainly proud at the end too.

Kiya Dee of Gloucestershire was part of a leading pack of four athletes including; Maisey Luke, Scarlett Livingstone and Holly Weedall. The pack quickly separated themselves from the rest of the competition, yet it was inevitable that one of the 4 was going to go home empty-handed. Maisey Luke worked hard on the hill section of the course, but it was Dee who navigated the course the smartest, digging deep in the latter stages to take the title in 10:26 for 3km, ahead of Luke and Livingstone.

In the very first minute of the Inter Boy’s race, Oliver Smart of Devon made his presence felt and quickly worked his way to the front of the field, avoiding unnecessary bumping and barging in the first section of the course. He sat back and let Mohamed Ali of Middlesex do the majority of the work, taking the brunt of the wind. Ali looked strong in the middle part of the race and looked like he might actually take the gold, but Smart ran an intelligent race and came out victorious, winning in a time of 16:43 for 5.22km. Will Barnicoat took the silver and Louis Small the bronze.

The seniors would have been watching from the team area in envy, as the junior athletes completed their competition relatively mud-free. This certainly wasn’t the case for the final two races.

With no Keely Hodgkinson and Jessica Mitchell-Blake recovering from illness, it was all to play for in the Senior Girl’s race. The abysmal weather didn’t slow Indian Pentland of Durham down however, as she took gold in a time of 14:58 for 4.1km. She dug ever so deep and fought relentlessly against the best of British weather to hold off Georgia Hayes of Berkshire (15:02) and Kate O’Neil of Essex (15:04).

Don’t forget, if you’d like to rewatch any races, or happened to miss the action yesterday, check out our on demand videosΒ here.

For more results head to the ESAA results page.