Stephen Ferroni – 5th U17 Men
There were some fantastic performances from B&H athletes at one of the most historic events in the British athletics calendar: the English National Cross-Country Championships. This year’s racing took place in the attractive setting of Wollaton Park in Nottingham, with blue skies overhead and, for the most part, firm conditions underfoot; the contrast with Sunderland 2013 could not have been greater.
First up in the U17 race, Stephen Ferroni delivered one of the best performances of his fledgling running career, with a superb 5th place in his first year in the age-group. Preferring to start steadily, Stephen reached the 2k point somewhere in the low 20s, before winding up the pace throughout the large 4k lap to finish within just 5 seconds off a medal. This performance reflects the tremendous progress Stephen has made in training in recent weeks and is a huge boost to his confidence ahead of both the Inter-Counties this weekend and the English Schools the week after. A terrific result that says as much about the future as it does about the here and now.
Two hours later and it was the turn of the Senior Men to experience the combined joys and pain of the National, with an impressive 1600 runners completing the course. Surprisingly, Brighton & Hove was the only Sussex club to send a team (congratulations, Captain Howard Bristow, for making that happen!) finishing in a highly respectable 27th out of 127 finishing teams. The scoring six were made up of: Birmingham/France based Will Gray in an excellent 31st; Howard himself in a strong 143rd; David Benton enjoying his first National in 12 years in 297th; Zared Hale and Matt Bristow digging deep for 381st and 401st respectively; and Niall Robinson getting back to race fitness in 590th. Well done all to all six, as well as to National Cross-Country ever-present, Andy Mitchelson.