Weekend Report - 17th/18th December 2016

Holden and Barker Excel at Brussels International Event

Tom Holden and Phoebe Barker, from Tonbridge Athletic Club, both had excellent races, as they represented the England under 20 teams, at the Lotto Cross Cup event in Brussels, on Sunday. They had both been selected for the teams, following the trial at the end of November.

Holden had possibly his best cross country race to date, as the nineteen year old pulled away, towards the finish, to win by three seconds, from Denmark’s Christian Holme. He ran 19.15 for the six kilometre course.

Phoebe Barker, at just sixteen years old, was one of the youngest runners in her race, but is putting together an extremely consistent Winter season.  Barker was always in contention and just lost out by one second to Justine Tinck, of Belgium, who ran 14.31 for the four kilometres. Two Dutch runners, plus Barker’s three English teammates finished in the places immediately behind her. Click here for further images courtesy of Richard Owen

Also competing in the meeting was Donald Carter, who travelled as an individual entrant and produced an excellent performance to place 5th in the men’s 3000 metres. Carter ran 8.38, in a race won in 8.31 by Ismael Debjani of Belgium.

On the domestic scene Tonbridge had a squad of runners at the South of Thames Cross Country Championship, at Beckenham, on Saturday. A single race was held over a two lap course, totaling seven miles, with men and women competing together. Around three hundred starters set off and the Tonbridge men managed to pack all of their six scorers in the first thirty home.

Ben Cole, in 5th, led the team home and was followed in by Julian Rendall (14th), Dan Bradley (16th), Dan Watt (19th), Jamie Bryant (21st ) and Greg Cole (29th).  However, their total score of 104 points was not enough to dethrone the reigning champions, Kent AC.

Unfortunately, due to last minute illness Tonbridge were one runner short of a full scoring women’s team. However, Lucy Reid showed that she is getting back to her best with an excellent 2nd place, in what was her first competitive race since January, due to injury and work commitments. Great Britain international Amy Clements won the race. Lucy Thompson (20th), Sasha Houghton (29th), Rachel Fagg (55th) and Nina Ridge (56th), followed Reid home. Images from the event can be found here.

The next major competition for the club’s distance runners is the Kent Cross Country Championships, on 7th January. However, on Boxing Day morning the club hosts the annual Christmas handicap, which is open to members and non members alike. Entry is free, although competitors donate a small gift to the prize sack. Registration is between 10am and 10.30am, with the race starting at 11am, over five kilometres, around the Tonbridge School fields.

West and Barker Gain Great Britain Selections

James West and Phoebe Barker, from Tonbridge Athletic Club, have been selected to compete for the Great Britain team, at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country International, on 7th January.

West will compete for senior men’s team in the one kilometre relay, which will be his first appearance in a GB vest, whilst Barker is in the under 20 women’s team, also making her GB debut.  The event is due to be shown live on BBC 1.

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