Davis claims sil­ver in long­est race yet

Bath Chronicle - - SPORT - @Som­lives­port | 01225 322 322 [email protected] Kevin Fa­hey

Combe Down run­ner Max Davis ad­mit­ted he had to dig deep to earn his place on the podium at the 2019 South West In­ter Coun­ties Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships. The 17-year-old found him­self along­side the se­nior men with the un­der-20 men’s race held in con­junc­tion with the main event on the chal­leng­ing course around Al­don Hill, near Yeovil. That made Davis one of the youngest run­ners in the field and over three gru­elling laps it took him to the limit be­fore he re­cov­ered to win an ex­cel­lent sil­ver medal in the U20s cat­e­gory. “That was such a hard race as it was not only fur­ther than I nor­mally race but the hills were so tough,” said Davis. “Last year as an U17 I only had to do two laps but this was three big laps and while I felt I made a strong start that sec­ond lap felt hor­ri­ble, re­ally hor­ri­ble. “But I got my sec­ond wind on the third and fi­nal lap, I just man­aged to sur­vive and over­all I am very pleased to fin­ish 11th and sec­ond in the U20s. The first guy [Finn Birnie] had a great run to­day.” The ex­pe­ri­ence will cer­tainly stand Davis, who is in Steve Wil­liams’ coach­ing group at Avon Val­ley Run­ners, in good stead when he re­turns to U20 men’s only ac­tion at the South of Eng­land and South West Schools’ Cham­pi­onships over the com­ing month. “Max has great stamina and works hard but he has to learn to con­cen­trate in the mid­dle of these sort of big races be­cause if you switch off you can lose lots of ground very quickly,” said Wil­liams. In the se­nior men’s race the Team Bath AC squad will take sat­is­fac­tion in fin­ish­ing sec­ond team be­hind run­away win­ners Bris­tol & West in what is ar­guably their best re­sult in the com­pe­ti­tion. The squad of Aaron Pritchard, ju­nior Frederick Webb, Dan Jones, James Don­ald and Thomas Davies scored 175 points to beat Corn­wall AC by just three points. Fur­ther lo­cal suc­cess came in the masters’ age cat­e­gories with brothers Alec and Guy Woods fin­ish­ing sec­ond and third re­spec­tively in the over-50s while re­cent­ly­crowned Run­ning Bath per­for­mance of the month win­ner for Novem­ber Tom Hutchi­son was run­ner-up in the M60 age group. Team Bath’s sole rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the se­nior women’s race was Re­becca Pierce, who fin­ished 18th over­all and third scorer for the Avon team who picked up the sil­ver medals in the in­ter-coun­ties event. Alex Par­sons also won team county bronze medal for Avon af­ter plac­ing tenth in the U17 men’s while Harry Maxwell was 11th in the U13s. Lucy Fitz­patrick ran strongly to make the top ten in the U20s age group, fin­ish­ing sev­enth, and in the U17s In­dia Ib­bot­son (14th), Serene Read (21st) and Eva Porter (30th) all made the top 30. Ella Treby won a county sil­ver medal fin­ish­ing 14th over­all and third scorer for Avon in the U15s age group with Jo­ce­lyn Cot­ter­ill 22nd. Younger sis­ter Iso­bel Cot­ter­ill was 25th in the U13s. Team Bath AC’S Eleanor Web­ster got the new year off to a win­ning start as she won the gold medal in the U17 women’s 800m at the South West In­door Cham­pi­onships in Cardiff on Sun­day, clock­ing a time of 2 mins 20.45secs. Team Bath ath­lete Jenna Blun­dell is this week cel­e­brat­ing her first Great Britain vest. The 17-year-old was given her first in­ter­na­tional call-up af­ter fin­ish­ing third in the U20 women’s pen­tathlon at the Eng­land Ath­let­ics Com­bined Events In­door Cham­pi­onships at the week­end. “It is a dream come true and I am ec­static,” said Blun­dell. “That bronze medal last week­end meant so much to me and to now get my first GB vest off the back of that is bril­liant and shows that my per­se­ver­ance has paid off. “I am feel­ing very emo­tional about it.” Af­ter miss­ing al­most the en­tire 2017 sea­son though in­jury Blun­dell, a re­cent win­ner of the Run­ning Bath/chronicle Ath­lete of the Month com­pe­ti­tion, eased her way back into top-class com­pe­ti­tion last sum­mer so her joy at get­ting 2019 off to such a fly­ing start is un­der­stand­able. “Last year I was get­ting back into the sport but it was frustrating and I was lack­ing in con­fi­dence,” added Blun­dell. “I want to make 2019 the year I fall back in love with ath­let­ics and this is a great start. I was never among the medals as an U15 ath­lete and then I got in­jured so this shows that with pa­tience and re­silience it is worth it to keep go­ing.” Blun­dell is cer­tainly a de­ter­mined com­peti­tor and showed that again in Sh­effield. Af­ter the first four events – 60m hur­dles (8.71secs), high jump (1.67m), shot (10.17m) and long jump (5.64m) – she was ly­ing in fourth so needed a big fi­nale in the 800m. “I knew I had to beat the other girl by five sec­onds to get the bronze medal and that was my fo­cus in the race,” ex­plained Blun­dell. “The race went well and when I crossed the line I started cry­ing and then looked over to my coach [Julie Alexan­der] and shouted: ‘Did I do it?’ It was a very emo­tional mo­ment.” With news of the GB call-up com­ing later it proved to be a mem­o­rable week­end for Blun­dell and, all be­ing well, could be the first of many this year as she re­news her love af­fair with the sport. In the U20 men’s hep­tathlon club­mate Rory Howorth fin­ished sixth with a score of 4,824 points. It was Howorth’s first at­tempt at the event and as one of the youngest com­peti­tors in the field he should take en­cour­age­ment from his per­for­mance, es­pe­cially as it in­cluded per­sonal bests in the high jump (1.89m), pole vault (3.60m) and long jump (6.63m). The Chronicle’s ath­let­ics cov­er­age is spon­sored by Run­ning Bath, Bath’s spe­cial­ist run­ning shop. Find them at 18 High Street, call 01225 462555 or visit run­ning­bath.co.uk.

Team Bath AC with their 2019 South West In­ter Coun­ties Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships team sil­ver medals

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