Thu, 27 Feb 2020
IZZY Fry clinched Newbury Athletic Club’s first-ever medal at the English National Cross Country Championship at Wollaton Park, Nottingham on Saturday.
The championships have been taking place since 1876 and the 19-year-old middle-distance runner claimed second place in the junior women’s race.
Newbury AC’s previous best performances came more than 35 years ago when Steve Smith placed fourth in the under-15 boys race and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Jon Solly finished seventh in the senior men’s race.
Fry’s career is on a dramatic upward curve.
Earlier this month Fry, who is coached by Mick Woods, finished fourth in the Belgium Cross Cup on her senior England cross country debut, while last year she was placed fourth in the European under-20 Championships 5,000m in Sweden.
She also helped Great Britain to victory in the under-20 team event at the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon in December.
Fry and race winner Amelia Quirk from Bracknell AC took on the race from the start, quickly separating themselves from the rest of the high-quality field.
Quirk, last year’s winner, managed to establish a small gap in the second half of the race in one of the muddiest nationals on record to take the victory from Fry by just four seconds.
Newbury AC also had three juniors and six seniors competing in the event.
Charlie Adams and Isabel Moore competed in their first national in the under-13s boys and girls races respectively and both performed superbly to finish comfortably in the top half of their races with Charlie 141st out of 384 runners and Isabel 143rd from 357.
Sophie Bhatt ran in the under-15 girls race and finished a very credible 226th.
In the senior women’s race Jessica Franklin finished 134th and Rebecca Downie 359th in a race with almost 1,000 runners.
Callum O’Neill was first Newbury AC athlete home in the senior men’s race in 196th.
Phil Marshall was 497th, Mike Robbins 537th and Ben Wickens 609th from more than 1,700 finishers.
Newbury Athletic Club’s Alex Muir opted to compete in the Scottish National Cross Country Championships in Falkirk, held on the same date.
In equally tough conditions to its English equivalent, with a hailstorm on the first lap, Muir put in a fantastic performance to finish 18th in the senior men’s race and claim a silver team medal with his second club, Edinburgh University.