Wells City Harrier’s 20 year old Laura Parker competed for Team England in an international cross-country match on Saturday in Antrim, Northern Ireland, and was the second England team member home. In a match that saw the Wells athlete up against top TeamGB runners like Charlotte Purdue and Louise Damen, Laura ran well and finished in overall 9th place beating a number of select athletes from the home countries and other European nations into the bargain. Laura’s time was 19.20 for the 5.6km course.


Ben and Frank Tickner


Also competing at the same venue was Ben Tickner, one of the Club’s Team GB athletes who finished in 12th position overall in the  senior men’s 9km race behind a phalanx of Kenyan and Ugandan athletes who covered the first six places. Ben’s 27.30 wasn’t too far back on team mate Andy Vernon’s 27.04.

Both Ben and Laura feature alongside at least one of the Club’s other Team GB athletes, Frank Tickner, this coming Saturday when the Harriers coach sets off before dawn with a team of 40 runners to contest the South of England cross country championships. Laura was disappointed with her 4th place last year in the u20 women’s race and now steps up to the senior women’s race for the first time. Ben was 10th last year in the Senior men’s southern championships whilst his younger brother Frank was sidelined through injury. Frank has twice been the English National Champion at cross-country and has won the Southern champion twice in 2008 and 2009. It will be exciting to see whether he is now coming back to anything like his best.

The Southern XC Championships is once again being held in the capital city using a course on the southern edge of Hampstead Heath and making all athletes run up the long 800m starting straight to the top of Parliament Hill. Subject to fitness and recovering from recent bugs, the Harriers once again travel with high hopes for a number of their junior runners to not only gain valuable experience but also to show that they can compete with the very best. In the u13 boys race Sam Sommerville will be looking to be in the top ten, following on from his recent silver at the SW Championships.

In the u15 girls race, with the Club’s national school champion Emily Smith being absent due to school commitments it is left to Isobel Glaisher, who was 3rd at the SWs together with Rebecca Carver, Jemma Jones and Abigail Gibbons to see if they can get a top ten team finish.

In the men’s race apart from the two Tickners, there’s still a chance that fellow Team GB athlete and Harrier Adrian Marriott might make the start line, and there will also be good back up from Elliot Haimes who medalled at the recent SW Championships.

Club members are reminded that the Somerset Race series for 2011 has now been finalised and that al details are to be found on the Club website at www.wellscityharriers.org.uk. Two of the Harrier’s sponsored local races are again included in the Series – on February 27th the Babcary Road race will take place, and on March 20th the Butleigh multi-terrain race. Entry forms for both races are now on the Club website.