Tale of Suffolk’s double victory at Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk enjoyed remarkable success at the annual Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships, with both Ruby Vinton and Ben Peck tasting victory in the under-13 races on an unforgettable day at Loughborough last Saturday.
Competing against the best young runners in the UK, who were all representing their respective counties, Vinton and Peck flew the Suffolk flag proudly to achieve an unprecedented double.
The impressive Vinton, a pupil at Woodbridge School, charged to victory in the under-13 girls’ race, having opened up a big gap of 19 seconds by the finish of the 3K race. The Ipswich Harrier posted a winning time of 12mins 28secs, with Scarlet Livingstone, of Devon, her closest challenger with 12:47 in second spot.
Peck was just as impressive, on his way to victory in the under-13 boys’ race, over the same 3K distance, to complete a notable double following his victory at the English National Championships in Leeds from a fortnight earlier.
Brandon-based Peck, a pupil at Mildenhall College Academy, showed a strong finishing speed, just like Vinton, to celebrate victory in 11:46, seven seconds clear of runner-up William Rabjohns, of Dorset.
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There was an excellent run from Colchester & Tendring athlete Henry Dover in third. Running in the red colours of Essex, Dover pipped Alex Adams to the bronze medal by just one second.
There were several other fine Suffolk performances, not least Lewis Sullivan’s superb fourth spot in the under-15 boys’ event. Sullivan, of Saint Edmund Pacers, is in the bottom half of his age group.
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John (Jack) Millar, meanwhile, continued his terrific season by finishing eighth in a very competitive senior men’s race. The Ipswich Harrier has been competing for England over the winter, and also ran at the European Cross County Championships in Belgium before Christmas.
But the day belonged to title winners Vinton and Peck.
“I was very nervous before the start, because I knew this race meant a lot,” explained 12-year-old Ruby Vinton, who is a member of Ipswich Harriers.
“I was looking at a top-five place, because I knew the competition would be good, but I managed to lead from the start.
“Scarlet (Livingstone) and I kept swapping places all the way around, and I decided to go when we got to the last 600 metres. I upped the pace and Scarlet dropped back.”
Despite having a couple of injuries earlier in the season, and then being laid-low with a stomach bug for a week last month, Vinton has trained well in Mark Goddard’s training group at the Harriers. Earlier this year, she won the South of England title at Parliament Hill, and the Anglian Schools crown in Northampton.
Fellow champion Peck said: “It was a really good race, and a proper windy day. The course was better than last year, in that it didn’t have mud all over.
“I didn’t have the best of starts. Someone fell over in front of me, but I soon managed to get up into the lead group.
“There was five or six in the lead group, from about a kilometre out, and that group got smaller throughout the race. With 500 metres to go, there were four of us in the group, but I made a move with about 300m left and managed to pull away and stay clear.
“I made the break on an uphill, but it was downhill to the finish,” added Peck, who is a member of Thetford AC,
In addition to his win on the day, Peck finished third overall in the British Cross Challenge Series, following on from his second place at Milton Keynes and his third slot at Liverpool from earlier in the season.
Dad Steve Peck said: “It’s been a terrific season. It has all come together for Ben in the second half of the season. It was the same top four at Loughborough from the first four at the English Nationals. The one-two was the same, although the third and fourth changed places.”
Suffolk’s leading juniors can now look forward to this weekend’s English Schools Championships, which take place at Leeds on Saturday.
Suffolk results from the Inter-Counties Championships:
Under-13 boys: 1 Ben Peck, 87 Liam Davison, 103 Max Fisher, 150 Ryan Grady, 160 Jacob Trangmar, 181 Archie Taylor, 193 Ben Phillips, 234 Thomas Taylor.
Under-13 girls: 1 Ruby Vinton, 62 Verity Valentine, 174 Ameile Taylor, 207 Phoebe Harpur-Davies, 235 Eloise Rufford, 243 Eva Marshall, 248 Freya Wilcox, 286 Sophie Gathorne-Handy.
Under-15 boys: 4 Lewis Sullivan, 22 Kit Evans Lombe, 58 James Peck, 83 Oliver Hitchcock, 101 Fred Adams, 202 Max Berry, 244 Joseph Davison, 263 Oscar Wood Fylan Bradnam, 271 Joe Webb,ward.
Under-15 girls: 95 April Hill, 160 Amy Goddard, 167 Mia Dann, 208 Francesca Mann, 217 Ffion Aston, 225 Brooke Oram, 242 Sophie Allen, 244 Lila Bartlett. Also: 51 Milly Presland (Essex).
Under-17 men: 91 James Pettersson, 118 Tom Henson, 126 Samuel Stevens, 210 Alex Evans Lombe, 269 Dylan Bradnam, 271 Joe Webb, 281 Ollie Bingham. Also: 183 Danny Millward (Essex)
Under-17 women: 45 Holly Fisher, 49 Millie Jordan-Lee, 155 Mimi Salsby, 200 Niamh Perry, 215 Jasmine Bilner, 218 Kirsten O’Brien, 234 Chloe Cavill, 243 Lily Genner.
Under-20 men: 97 Joe Robson, 138 James Preston, 141 Steve Quercia-Smale, 165 Morgan Moore, 185 Bradley Potts. Also: 110 Freddy Richardson (Essex).
Under-20 women: 32 Philippa Unthank, 56 Megan Newton. Also: 79 Elsie Gray (Essex).
Senior men: 8 John Millar, 115 Michael Gilbert, 166 Matthew Jeffries, 176 Daniel O’Boyle, 221 Neil Pollard, 230 Tony Gavin, 237 Andrew Southwood, 271 Scott Williams.
Senior women: 32 Charlotte Christensen, 87 Samantha Lines, 114 Hannah Pettersson, 132 Justine Anthony, 172 Alice Goodwin, 178 Lauren Howe.