Ian Kennedy reports
Emily Shaw made it a hat-trick of appearances in an England vest at the Schools International Athletics Board meeting contested each year between All Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.
The 2019 edition of the event was held at Santry Demesne, to the north of Dublin, quite close to the airport. Santry Demesne is the home of Morton Park (the National Athletics Stadium of Ireland) and it also provided the course for the European Cross Country Championships back in 2009.
Emily qualified for this event by finishing in the top eight the previous weekend at the English Schools Cross Country Championships at Temple Newsam Park, Leeds on 16 March. She recorded her best result yet at English Schools, her third place followed two years where she had finished fourth.
The tough and hilly course that the England team had to run on in order to qualify for the international meeting was very different from the flat ground at Santry, Demesne, the latter would favour those who were the fastest track athletes.
The races were staged in age-group order, so the two Junior races took place first with Emily racing in the Inter Girls in Race 3. It was a dominant team performance from England. Each nation fielded eight athletes, and the first six were to score. The race was won by Bea Wood (City of Salisbury & Wilts) who’d been runner-up at Temple Newsam, second was Anna Hedley (Fife) of Scotland. Third went to Beth Cook (Bodyworks & Sussex) the winner at Temple Newsam.
Of the 32 finishers, all of the England eight were in the top 10! Emily was 5th (4th English finisher), she’d recorded 6th at both Margam (Wales) in 2017 and Nottingham in 2018. With 1 point for a win, 2 points for second, etc, etc., the margin of victory for the England Inter Girls team was impressive:
Congratulations to Emily for qualifying for England for three years in a row (two of those year-young) and on her best England performance so far.