A group of 41 City of Portsmouth athletes and parents, travelled to France for the weekend, to participate in the annual Cross de Bolbec cross country festival.
City were invited by the host club GABS (Ga Basse-seine Bolbec).
The race day was dry but very cold.
Kicking off the action was John Brimecome, who finished the veteran’s race in 21st position.
The first junior race, the under-13 girls, proved to be the highlight of the meeting.
Olivia East had a tremendous battle with French athlete Maissane Jouen for first position, with the lead changing hands twice in the last 400m.
Olivia dug in with a sprint finish to claim first position by a fraction of a second.
Natalye Smith (third), Hattie Locke (fifth) and Jemina Batty (11th) all ran superbly to ensure City of Portsmouth finished first team.
In race three, Cameron Walker-Powell ran superbly to finish second in the under-13 boys’ race.
Cameron was leading the race with 20m to go, only to be pipped to the post by local runner Alban Fleury.
Race four (under 15 Girls) saw Isabelle Brydon finish second, with Phoebe Carlile 22nd.
Callum Crook (fourth), Bolbec two-timer Ben Cross (23rd) and young Jenson Howard (28th) completed the 3,390m under-15 boys’ race.
Training partners Elizabeth Hedley and Anya Pigden finished clear first and second respectively in the under-17 girls’ race.
Penelope Batty crossed the line 14th.
In the under-17 boys’ category, Bolbec second-timers Jacob O’Hara (first), Stephen Cross (second) and Harry Moore (13th), plus an outstanding run from Bolbec debutant Adam Kimber (fourth), ensured COPAC took the team honours.
Kayleigh Johns produced a wonderful solo effort to finish first in the under-20 ladies’ race), 11 seconds clear of second.
Charon Baggaley, City’s sole representative in the senior women’s race, finished in 23rd position.
In the senior men’s race Paul Cardy produced a top performance to finish ninth.
Kev Wheeler picked up a new legion of fans as he led for the first 800m, leaving an experienced Diamond league athlete in his shadows!
Unfortunately, this early pace could not be sustained but he ran well through the pain barrier to finish 53rd.
Toby Brimecome (18th), Shaun Newton (30th), Damon Howard (31st) and Adam O’Hara (35th) ran well.
They were backed up by Bolbec veterans Chris Scott (43rd) and Paul Bleach (47th).
– by JACOB O’HARA