West Norfolk distance athletes battle conditions to scoop medals

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The distance athletes of Ryston Runners and West Norfolk Athletic Clubs battled through the winter conditions at the Norfolk Cross Country Championships.

Conditions were almost perfect for the event which took place at Thetford.

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Representing Ryston, individual silver medals went home round the necks of Mel Reed ( W35), Matt Allen (M40), and Jeff Reed (M70), with Nic Bensley bagging bronze in the M45 category.

Allen and Bensley were joined by Richard Ebbs (4th M45) to claim second-place team honours in the M40-49 category.

The first two Ryston men home were James O’Neill (M35) and Callum Stanforth, (7th and 9th) while Lorena Latisaite and Lydia Growns (14th and 15th) were the first two Ryston women to cross the finishing line.

The club’s cross-country representative Tony Savage acquitted himself well in the M55 category, finishing in fifth, with Keith Morris being placed ninth in the same age group.

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The M60 category featured Kevin Howlett (sixth) and Martin Blackburn (eighth).

Charlie Wakefield won the U15 boys championships – a result which qualifies him once again for the London Mini Marathon in April.

Wakefield was joined by Bailey Took (18th) and Kyle Berry (22nd) in the team event, but they just missed out on medals, finishing fourth.

Fourth was also the position of the senior men’s team, with Michael Howlett (32nd) joining James and Callum in that category.

Charlie’s younger brother Harry Wakefield was sixth in the under-13 boys’ race and is happy to have qualified for the inter-counties and gain his first Norfolk vest.

He achieved this before rushing off to represent Norfolk against Lincolnshire in his first sport of badminton, in which he has placed third nationally for the past two years.

Oakley Took was the only Ryston Runner in the under-11 race, finishing 12th, while Toby Leigh Hayton ploughed a similarly lone Ryston furrow in the under-17B category and was placed 12th.

Rosie Booth and Izzy Sandover turned out in their Ryston kit in the under-15 girls’ race and were placed ninth and 11th respectively, while Judith Berry was the sole club representative in the W40 race, finishing 15th.

For West Norfolk Athletics Club, Charlie Tunmore (under-11) ran well inside the top 20.

Poppy Tunmore, Abby Watson and Ruby Schwarz claimed a successful third team prize in the under-15 girls category.

Pocket rocket Debbie Schwarz didn’t disappoint with a fine run for fourth spot in the 93 strong field.

The final race of the day saw Benjamin Collison get 30th in the senior section.

Collison was followed home by Neil Watson (45-49), John Greenhalgh, who was pleased with his 12th place (50-54), and Lee Tunmore completed the 10.9km course in 29th (40-45 age group).