Unsung heroes come to the fore for City

Penelope Batty racing for City in the nationals at Parliament Hill. Picture: Paul Smith
Penelope Batty racing for City in the nationals at Parliament Hill. Picture: Paul Smith
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VINCE STAMP praised a great team effort from City of Portsmouth in the National Cross Country championships.

The event was hosted at the iconic Parliament Hill venue in London and athletes battled heavy mud in epic races throughout the day.

Stamp knows the Parliament Hill venue very well having raced there many times and he appreciated what he saw from all the City athletes on the day.

He said: ‘We had some key runners missing but a big highlight was seeing some of our unsung heroes really come to the fore.

‘They really did themselves proud.’

City under-17 women had a very good day to finish fifth team and they were only 30 points off the bronze medal.

Ellie Farrow led the way in 19th as a bottom year in a time of 19.45.

Next was Olivia Wiseman in 43rd (20.25). Then the third City athlete was Katie Simister who finished 81st (21.20) and Mia Billins was 87th in 21.25 to close the team out.

Stamp added: ‘‘Ellie has been doing well and she’s a bottom year.

‘Olivia took some big scalps along the way, Katie has continually stepped it up and Mia Billins is doing very well.

‘Penelope Batty finished 146th out of 276 in 22.31. She put herself up there and it shows what she can do.

‘Bo Sansom was 157th (22.42) and she had a nasty fall while Eleanor Purdue was 164th (22.51).

‘It was a very pleasing team performance.’

City’s under-13 girls were 43rd team out of 51.

Stamp added: ‘Daisy Wilkinson led the under-13 team with another excellent run and she finished in 134th out of 467 runners (14.18).

‘She got a bit trapped at the start so that cost her probably 30 seconds which is 60 places.

‘Emily Dunkley was not far behind Daisy and she finished 176th (14.33). Poppy Penniall was 327th in 15.41 and Emily Lee was 362nd in 16.02. It’s a good experience for them and they did well.

‘Nicole Ainsworth had a strong run to lead our under-15 girls (37th out of 464 in 15.43). She was so strong. It’s another step up the ladder.

‘Holly Wilkinson (92nd in 16.24) had another good run and she’s a bottom year.’

City finished 21st team out of 50. Isabelle Brydon (191st in 17.14) and Alys Hantrais-Smith 280th in 17.58) completed the scoring four.

Also in action for City were Natalya Smith (346th in 18.34), Poppy Edwards (362nd in 18.50), Milly Laing (376 in 19.05), Aaliyah Arkell (389th in 19.19), Jemima Batty (416th in 19.56) and Phoebe Carlile (435th in 20.35).