East Devon runners looking for glory at Devon Schools Cross-Country Championships


- Credit: Archant

The Devon Schools Cross-Country Championships take place this Saturday (January 16) at Stover School.

It’s the second year running that the venue has been selected. An ideal place for the Championships with its beautiful ancient woods and the iconic tough hill of Torture Field with Hay Tor as its backdrop.

Competition will no doubt be fierce as young runners battle to gain prestigious place sin the Devon team for the South West and then English School Championships.

In terms of East Devon runners involved, there’s year eight student Caitlin Smith who, before Christmas, survived a gruelling three races in four days with the middle one entailing an overnight trip to Milton Keynes for the Schools Cup Final.

First she won the East Area championships on a Thursday, travelled through the Friday rush hour traffic and took Colyton’s Year 7/8 team to ninth position in Schools National Cup Final.

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She then claimed third place at the Devon County (‘clubs’) Championships in Exeter the next day!

Three races in four days, not even a thirty-two-year-old Mo Farah, with all of his training has attempted that one!

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She survived and came back to take a bronze medal at SW Inter Counties a couple of weeks later, along with Poppy Tank to be the only female medalists from the County on that day.

Jack Gregorius of Kings Ottery features in what should be a terrific intermediate boy’s event where he will come up once again against Uffculme School’s Finley Mclear. Mclear had the edge in the Area’s in November, but Gregorius concentrates on Surf Livesaving with the Sidmouth Club, and tends to get into a running training regime later in the season. A big strong athlete, expect him to put up a battling defence of his title.

Another Colyton School student, Patrick Livingstone, runs in the senior boy’s event and, with GB Youth and England junior international William Battershill (Ivybridge) away at a University selection weekend, has every chance in what looks a close battle with Jake Smith (Exeter College) and track specialist Josh Blake (Tavistock).

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