City talents show great potential among nation’s best

Finney Coomber competing in the Hampshire Championships earlier this season. Picture: Paul Smith
Finney Coomber competing in the Hampshire Championships earlier this season. Picture: Paul Smith
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Two of the youngest athletes competing on the day made a big impression at the National Cross Country Championships in Leeds.

With more than 8,000 of the best the nation has competing across the age groups it is one of the biggest days in the winter racing calendar.

Finney Coomber had a tough start to her race in the under-13 age group when she was spiked on the start line.

But despite suffering a nasty gash and a torn shoe she managed a really strong run to finish 124th out of 418 in the age group.Having only just turned 11 in time to compete in the event it was a remarkable run and she finished alongside her club-mate Daisy Wilkinson who was 123rd with both City athletes completing the tough 3k course in 12min 23sec.

Meanwhile, Mackenzie Van Laun finished 157th out of 408 in the under-13 boys’ race over the same distance with a time of 11min 45sec.

City coach Vince Stamp was impressed.

He said: ‘They were outstanding runs from Finney and Mackenzie. Two bottom year under-13s and they really shone.

‘Finn was only old enough to enter a couple of days before the closing date and Mackenzie is not much older than Finn.

‘Fin got spiked on the start line. She had an inch and a half gash in her shoe. She also had a cm long gash just below her ankle and it was as deep as it was long.

‘Despite that she finished alongside Daisy Wilkinson who is a top year and Daisy is a really strong runner.

‘Finn is nearly two years younger than Daisy and it was a massive step up for her.

‘She’s had stitches in her wound because it kept opening up.

‘Mackenzie had a fantastic run as well and he is coming on leaps and bounds.

‘We had a lot of good performances on the day but for Finn and Mackenzie to run like that was outstanding. They have a lot of potential and it will be good to see how they develop.’

Eddy Purser was strong in the under-13 boys’ race as he took 112th position with a time of 11.30. 

That continues his good cross country season after finishing fifth in the county championships and 24th in the county schools.

Also representing well for City in the under-13 age group were Emily Lee who finished 309th in 13.42 and Ruby Gordon who was 370th in 14.27.