Saturday saw Anna Kemp and Esme Parkin compete at the "National Open School Year Cross Country" at Market Harborough.
Both girls had clocked quick 2k times on June 20th at the Junior Park Run at Newark (EP 7.38 and AK 7.42) and it seemed a good time to try and venture further than the local Park Run circuit. Cross Country has been hit hard by the pandemic and it has been hard for runners to find variety and competition.
The event in Market Harborough saw a country wide field and with no qualification standards, due to the pandemic, literally anyone could turn up and race. Kemp (yr 4) performed brilliantly in her race and overcame the chaotic start (83 girls and boys on the start line) to settle down and finish first girl home in a time of 5.19 for the 1400m course. The course was quick, flat and open which allowed Anna to go hard from the very start and run the legs out of the competition. This was a top effort. This set the standard as Esme stepped up for the year 5 race. 74 runners heard the gun and Esme learned from watching the previous race by staying on the right hand side to avoid the melee at the first corner. It was soon clear that 5 or 6 girls would be in the mix for this one over 1800m (although it felt shorter) but with 300m to go it was clear that Summer Smith from Essex would be hard to beat. Esme held on for second place in a time of 6.09 as the pack tried to close in over the last 100m.
Head of Sports Performance, Ian Parkin, who is also Esme's dad, said:
"This was a brilliant event for the girls to get involved with as it has been so hard to actually get out there and race this year. It is also exciting to go to a big event where you are competing against unknown competitors at a new venue. Anna ran brilliantly and she should be thrilled with her win. Esme was also chuffed to finish second. When I saw how far people were travelling from to attend, I knew it would be a serious event. You do not drive to Market Harborough from places like Cheltenham, Liverpool, Essex and Watford unless you are good and take your running seriously. It is also great for the girls to get used to big events and how they operate. I am really looking forward to seeing what they both can do in the coming year and this should give them the confidence and motivation to keep up the effort."
To see Anna's result click HERE
To see Esme's result click HERE