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Come on England!  Emily and Grace Cross-Country Internationals

Ian Kennedy reports

Emily – England kit, medal and big smile

At the end of an extraordinary season, two members of Wimborne AC’s cross-country squad were selected to represent England in International meetings.

Emily Shaw

Emily won her vest after a gutsy and tactically smart performance at the English Schools Cross Country Championships in Leeds on 17 March. Dorset’s junior girls team of eight outscored every other county in England on what was an extraordinary day in Yorkshire. It was a tough course, hilly and heavy going. The meeting was held on a bitterly cold day, where we experienced strong winds and occasional snow flurries. Emily was first Dorset runner home (in 4th place). The first eight finishers were then selected to represent England the following weekend in a Home International – versus Ireland, Scotland and Wales – staged in Nottingham. For Emily this is the second successive year she has won selection to the England team for this international meeting.

The International took place in the fabulous setting of Wollaton Park in Nottingham. Teams were made up of eight, with the first six finishers from each team to score. It was a dominant performance from England’s junior girls, in a quality field of just 32 runners all eight English girls were in the top 12. England’s Bea Wood and Beth Cook were first and second, and the next England vest home was Emily’s (in 6th). This fine performance from brought to a close a cross-country season to remember. Highlights of Emily’s year were winning the Dorset Championships, the Dorset Schools Championships, the South West Schools Championships, 2nd in the South of England Championships, and fourth in the National Championships and English Schools Championships.

Grace Copeland

Grace also competed in the English Schools Championships, but she travelled knowing that she had already been selected to represent England at the World  Schools Cross Country Championships in Paris, and that her England kit was awaiting her in Leeds.

The setting for the Grace’s race was right in the heart of Paris in the Champ de Mars, under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. The race had attracted teams from around the world, with entries from as far away as New Zealand, Australia and Thailand.

It really was an incredible experience for England’s young athletes as they were away for almost a week. The event took place over five days with the main race on Wednesday 4 April.

The International Schools Federation state that 600 runners from 34 countries took part in all, over the course of the event.

Grace was 52nd in her race, and it was a successful meeting for the English, with the girls’ team coming second to Australia. The boys’ team also came second, in their case to Morocco, meaning of course that the best overall team performance came from England.

The athletes were well looked after while they were away and were kept busy, on one day they were involved in a ‘Friendship Relay’ which took place in Le Jardin de Luxembourg, also centrally located in Paris. The English team also attended the medals ceremonies.

… and there are more international honours for Grace

Grace is one of five who have been selected to represent England at the Trofeo International under-20 road race meeting in Oderzo a city in northern Italy about 40 miles from Venice. It’s a 5k race that is due to take place on 1st May.

The timing for this has come as Grace has just posted an outstanding parkrun of 17:10, smashing the club record she previously held by more than 20 seconds. It also places her second in the ‘ALL TIME’ list for her age-group for a parkrun!




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