English National Cross Country Relay Championships
Berry Hill Park, Mansfield
Saturday 5th November 2016
The annual English National cross country relay championships were staged in Berry Hill Park Mansfield on Saturday the 5th of November. The Course at Berry Hill is a mixture of good parkland, a wooded section with lots of undulations and a fast finishing section which make it a good course for the Championships, the event is part of the build up to the ‘Trials’ at the end of November in Liverpool where the athletes will get the opportunity to impress and hopefully gain selection for the Great Britain team which will be competing at the European Cross Country Championships.
The first English Cross Country Relays took place in 1985 when they were staged in Crystal Palace Park. They moved to Berry Hill Park in 1989 where they have been held for the last 27 years. Since the advent of the event, all the top British cross country runners have competed over the course around Berry Hill Park and with the various laps remaining the same, consistent records have been established and are regularly challenged.
A total of 2976 athletes competed at the championships and races were held at all age ranges from boys and girls under the age of 13 up to senior men and women whose ranks included veteran athletes as well. All races were contested over three legs with the exception of the senior men’s race which was run over four legs.
Kingston were represented at Mansfield by a junior men’s team containing three of the clubs under 20’s athletes, Harry Powell, Shaun Smith and Baldvin Magnusson.
Harry Powell was in magnificent form throughout the 2015 and early 2016 cross country season which saw him win selection for the Northern England team at the Antrim International meeting. Mighty performances at the Northern Cross Country Championships and the national inter Counties meeting followed. He continued his form into the track and field season where he won gold medals over both 3000 metres and 5000 metres at the Northern Championships and last month saw another quality performance from him at the Northern Counties relay championships.
Shaun Smith was the 2015 County cross country champion but he was unable to defend his title this January, with injury forcing him to spend a long time on the side lines. He had put in excellent performances at the 2015 Northern cross country championships and at the English Schools cross country event. On the track he was the County 1500 metres champion. His last run of that year was in November where he put in another good effort in Liverpool at the British Cross Challenge meeting. It would be another 8 months before Shaun returned to action in July of 2016, running on the track for the youth team in a league match.
Baldvin Magnusson has put in some impressive performances over the last 18 months or so and he has done so at some of the biggest meetings and in some quality fields. He finished well inside the top third of the runners at last year’s British Cross Challenge meeting and backed this up with excellent performances at both the Northern and the England cross country championships. A finish just outside the top 10% in a field of over 300 runners at The English Schools cross country championships further improved his credentials. The track and Field season saw him take the bronze medal in the Northern Championships 5000 metres final in Middlesbrough.
The junior men’s race at the England cross country relays championships was run over three legs and was contested over a three kilometre course. 55 teams of three runners contested the race along with 16 incomplete teams which contained either one or two runners. 186 athletes in total ran in the race.
The first leg runner for Kingston was Harry Powell who got the team off to an excellent start covering the three kilometres course in a time of 8:58.70s and he handed over the baton with the team holding 11th place in the race. Shaun Smith took over for the second leg and his run of 9:27.30s saw him navigate the course and hand over with Kingston in 19th position. Baldvin Magnusson took over the baton for the third and final leg and he crossed the finishing line in 22nd place running the course in a time of 9:43.95s.