The ESAA National Cross Country Final took place in Witton Park, Blackburn this year and St Mary's had four athletes taking part.
The course was set up in the country park and consisted of undulating parkland with a steep, rough up-hill section and equally demanding downhill section. The course itself was very muddy in parts and although quite wide at the start, narrowed through the ascent and descent with an extremely muddy narrow gateway near the finish to contend with.
All four St Mary’s athletes - Yasmin, Lucy, Caroline and Ella, had qualified through the North Wilts Area, County and South West Championships to represent Wiltshire at the National Finals. For Yasmin this was her second year in the Inter Girls event and, having qualified previously, Yasmin knew what to expect - a massive field of runners of the very highest quality. Yasmin performed extremely well to finish in 164th position out of 339 runners who completed the course. For Lucy, Caroline and Ella this was their first experience of competition at this level. All three girls were naturally nervous. This is the biggest event (numbers-wise) in the Cross Country calendar including International’s and having to compete at this level can be very exciting but equally daunting. Some of GB's very best runners have competed here including Paula Radcliffe. There was a massive field and the start is a real sight with over 360 athletes lining up. All three girls performed well across a demanding course which was run at an extremely fast pace. Lucy finished 301, Caroline 316 and Ella 324 out of 345 who completed the course. All three girls will have learnt so much from competing at this level and should feel proud of their achievement. In fact Ella, who is a year young, has another year in this age group.
Well done to all four St Mary’s athletes. This was the first time the school has been represented by four girls at this National Cross Country event.