Ipswich Harriers’ Ruby Vinton crowned South of England champion

Ruby Vinton (left) in action on her way to victory at the South of England Cross Country Championshi

Ruby Vinton (left) in action on her way to victory at the South of England Cross Country Championships in Brighton last weekend. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk athlete Ruby Vinton surged to a sensational victory at the annual South of England Cross Country Championships, held at Stanmer Park in Brighton last weekend.

The richly-talented Vinton, despite being one of the youngest competitors in an under-13 girls’ field of more than 200 runners, lifted the regional title in style after a thrilling finish.

Held over a two-lap 3K course, Vinton was neck-and-neck with Charlotte Dewar, of Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow for most of the race, but Suffolk champion Vinton just edged home in front after a sprint finish, even though both girls were awarded the same time (10mins 50secs).

It was another terrific run from the 11-year-old Woodbridge School pupil – she has had a very impressive last couple of seasons.

A member of Ipswich Harriers, Vinton had three weeks earlier won the Suffolk County Championships at Culford School.

Before the turn of the year, she won the English Schools Cup Final at Sevenoaks (in November), and triumphed at the South of England Inter-Counties Championships in Oxford before Christmas.

After last weekend’s race, she said: “That was toughest race I have had so far.”

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Her Mum, Lisa Vinton, explained: “We travel with Ruby wherever she runs, all over the country, but this was the first time we walked the course with her before the race. It was very muddy and very hilly, and she had to do laps. She was really nervous before the start, and didn’t really enjoy it, saying that once again she was one of the smallest runners in the race!

“But Ruby really had the bit between her teeth. She has had a lot of good wins, and she is on a roll at the moment.

“In previous races she had been taking the lead early on, but this time she was level with another runner for virtually the whole way around.

“It was very, very close at the end, and apparently she just got her leg in front in a photo finish.

“Ruby is still only 11, competing in the under-13 age group against a lot of girls who are a year or so older. She is not 12 until August,” added Mrs Vinton.

Ruby will be running for Suffolk Schools at the Anglian Schools Championships at Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, this Saturday.

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