A muddy marvellous display!

DETERMINATION epitomised the displays of nine Ilford AC athletes at the National Cross Country championships at Parliament Hill Fields, Hampstead Heath on Sunday. The spiritual home of cross country was at its finest and muddiest with the traditional sigh

DETERMINATION epitomised the displays of nine Ilford AC athletes at the National Cross Country championships at Parliament Hill Fields, Hampstead Heath on Sunday.

The spiritual home of cross country was at its finest and muddiest with the traditional sight of some 1,500 men and 600 women leading the charge up the muddy hill at the start.

Thomas King was first up for the boys under-13s 3k race, his slight frame dwarfed by the severity of the surrounding terrain. Nevertheless he acquitted himself remarkably well, coming home 225th out of 356.

The senior women's race followed immediately, with the Ilford team fielding Pam Jones, forgoing a veteran's indoor track race to turn out for the team. She was part of the victorious Ilford women's squad that lifted the spoils at this competition back in 1961, and individually occupied a high seventh place.


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Her finishing position on Sunday was a slightly more modest 479th but no less remarkable for her 71 years. Bree Nordin in 272nd was the top Ilford performer of the day, with Dianne Crisp 332nd, Nicola Hopkinson 372nd and Sally Gillam 482nd supporting well.

The ladies squad closed in 53rd place in a race held over 5k and comprising two loops of mud and hills. Hatti Dean of Hallamshire took the top spot after overhauling Kendal's Sarah Tunstall late in the proceedings, with Sonia Samuels of Sale third.

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Ilford's Malcolm Muir was fairly pleased with his performance in the men's race despite sustaining a fall towards the end of the first loop.

However, he had time to regain his composure, picking himself up to complete the rest of the gruelling seven-and-a-half mile course in 212th position.

Neil Crisp in 709th, Chris Togwell in 915th and Steve Parker in 1192nd, all enjoyed their outings performing well for the club.

At the sharp end of an exciting race Frank Tickner of Wells AC beat off a determined challenge from Stockport's Steve Vernon with AFD's Andy Vernon, tracking them home in third.

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