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Jess takes silver at National Cross Country

25th Feb 2005

Jess takes silver at National Cross Country

Jess Coulson goes from the gun in the National Cross Country

Jess Coulson goes from the gun in the National Cross Country

Fourteen-year-old Stockport Harrier Jess Coulson was in outstanding form at the English National cross country championships at Cofton Park in Birmingham on Saturday.

The talented distance runner finished second after taking on the race right from the gun.

At the first massive 800 metre climb, Jess had strung out the 300-strong field of runners by the time she reached the top.

Jess, the Greater Manchester schools' cross country champion, looked in control and only the national 1,500m schools' track champion Sarah Hopkinson of Gloucester and Charlotte Purdue of Aldershot Harriers were trying to hold on to the fast pace that the Stockport runner had set.

During the descent to the bottom of the course Hopkinson faded and it was down to Purdue who overtook Jess with 400 metres to go.

Jess was safe in second position and Louise Welch came through for Milton Keynes in third.

The Stockport girls' team finished third. Leah Kay, with another consistent performance, was 14th, Lucy McLoughlin 44th and Ruth Jenyon 103rd.

Stockport finished just behind winners, and Southern champions Aldershot, and Northern champions Leigh Harriers.

This was followed up by some other notable performances from the under-13 girls'. Bryony Pearce finished 12th, Michelle Wiblin 16th, Charlotte Barber 54th and Katie Evans 89th - making the team fifth.

For the under-15 boys' Steve Pearson ran an outstanding race to take 25th in his first national event. Ross Millington was 75th and Stuart Cameron 104th, with Phil Nixon 282nd.

Andy Nixon was first finisher for Stockport under-17 boys' in 50th, while Simon Bennett was 111th and Jon Walch 165th.

The boys' under-13 team ran solidly in their first national. Nathan Ludain was 69th, Harry Long 107th, Sam Riley 154th and David Thomson 282nd in the huge field of 400 runners.

For Stockports men’s team, Ged Cudahey was 196th.

The next big cross country event is in a fortnight at Nottingham. Stockport Harriers’ top cross runner Steve Vernon will be running in the World cross trial.

Steve, who took the 4k title in 2002, needs to be in the top five for selection to this year’s world cross country championships to be held at St Gaimier in France on March 19.