Derbyshire runners ready for English Schools National Cross Country Championships
MORE than 2,500 of the best young endurance runners from around the country will converge on Catton Park in South Derbyshire next month for the English Schools Athletics Association National Cross Country Championships.
Derbyshire has been chosen to host this major annual event for 2013, with six age group races set to take place over various distances over the challenging course on Saturday, March 16.
Among the competitors will be a number of Derbyshire athletes who qualified to compete in the national championships by securing top spots at the Derbyshire Schools' Cross Country Championships this month.
They include Hugo Milner, from Derby, who took first place in the junior boys' event at the Derbyshire championships. He will be aiming for another top-10 finish at the national championships after taking ninth place last year, a year young.
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Also competing for Derbyshire will be Alec Stackhouse, from South Derbyshire, who took fourth place in the junior boys' event at the Derbyshire championships, and Niamh Emerson, from Amber Valley, who took second place in the junior girls' event.
Emma Erskine, the senior girls' champion, from the Derbyshire Dales, will also be representing the county at Catton Park.
The National Championships are being organised by the Derbyshire Schools' Sports Association (DSSA) Athletics Section, together with the English Schools' Athletic Association.
Liz Milne, chair of DSSA Athletics, said: "We are very proud that Derbyshire has been chosen to host this prestigious event and look forward to welcoming teams from across the country for a fantastic day of competition.
"The course at Catton Park will be a good test for the athletes and is very spectator-friendly, with most of the course visible from the start and finish areas, so we also look forward to welcoming a good number of spectators to the event, which I'm sure will make for a great atmosphere on the day."
Ken Bray, secretary of the English Schools' Athletic Association, added: "I'm delighted that this year's National Championships will be held in Derbyshire.
"We have been working with volunteers from DSSA Athletics for several months and it is clear to see that there is a huge passion for sport in the county.
"Plans are in place for what I am sure will be another great event which young people from across the country will be proud to take part in."
Race distances will range from 3,400m for the junior girls' race, to 6,480m for the senior boys' race. There will also be events for junior boys, inter girls and inter boys.