It’s a grand national for Nene Valley Harriers star Foley

Cat Foley in action at the National Cross-Country Championships.
Cat Foley in action at the National Cross-Country Championships.

Over 5,000 runners descended on a muddy Parliament Hill Fields in North London on Saturday, the setting for the National Cross-Country Championships. Nene Valley Harriers athletes took on England’s elite and proved themselves equal to the challenge.

In the senior ladies race,in-form cross-country specialist Cat Foley capped a fine season, exceeding even her own expectations by coming home in 23rd position out of 861 finishers.

In an race where it is easy to get bogged down in the large field, the 28 year-old Stamford-based athlete displayed tactical astuteness heading for the front from the gun, and helping to set the pace on an arduous early uphill climb.

Foley’s finishing position was the best ever by a Nene Valley senior lady in a national championship. She covered the mudbound eight-kilometre course in an eye-catching time of 32:59.

Exciting young prospect Amelia Monaghan followed up her victory in the Cambridgeshire Championships with an outstanding performance, finishing 10th in the Under 13 girls three-kilometre race in a time of 13:12, just 19 seconds slower than the bronze medallist.

Not to be outdone by Foley, she also recorded the highest ever placing by a Harrier in her category - a feat made all the more impressive given that Monaghan has only been running competitively for two seasons.

Amber Park ran well coming home in 97th position in the same race.

It was a good day for the Ellison family with siblings Megan and Ethan both enjoying excellent runs.

Megan came home in 60th place in the Under 15 girls race, while her brother finished 58th in the boys Under 13 race.

Cambridgeshire schools cross-country champion Alex Hampson rarely disappoints, and battled through the mud for a top 50 finish in the boys Under 17 race.

He received sterling support from Oliver Bowling in 160th position, Jevan Robertson (168th)and Austin Herbert (183rd) to secure 15th place for the team.

James McCrae impressed with 60th position in the Under 20 men’s race, covering the 10-kilometre course in 37:22.

The 12-kilometre senior men’s race boasted a field over 2,000 runners, and 20 year-old Lloyd Kempson enhanced his growing reputation, with a dogged run that saw him finish in 292nd position in a time of 46:47.

Harriers head coach Russ Prosser was delighted with Nene Valley’s showing, and reflected that “it was great to see fine runs across so many of the age groups”.

After a highly successful cross-country season Prosser is confident that the club’s elite will sign off in style at the Inter-Counties Championships on March 7 at Birmingham.

Stamford-based Aaron Scott ws a member of the victorious Notts AC team that won the senior men’s team title.

Scott, who is a second claim member of nene Valley Harriers, was 39th.

Artem Usatenko gained Peterborough Athletic Club’s best placing at the national championships. He finished 145th in the men’s Under 20 race.

Harvey Hancock gained an excellent 158th place in the Under 13 boys race and Steve Hall was 530th in the senior men’s event.