Anglian cross country honours for Perse runners
Verity Valentine (Year 9) and Jasmine Christmas (Year 7) put their best feet forward to clinch victory at the Anglian Schools Cross Country Championships.
The competition, which took place at Woodbridge School, saw Verity win the junior girls’ race in a time of 12min 42sec and Jasmine take the minor girls’ honours with a time of 9min 19sec.
Verity will now go on to represent Cambridgeshire in the English Schools Championships in Kent on Saturday (19 March), along with fellow Perse runners George Christmas (Year 10), Isaac Rothwell and Rebecca West (both Lower Sixth).
She was thrilled to claim the Anglian crown after edging out her nearest rival in the closing stage of the 3.2km race.
“I was really happy to win because I trained hard and it was quite a tactical race, so I felt proud that I played it quite well,” said Verity.
“It was anyone’s race but going into the second lap, I broke away with another girl in the last 400 metres and I just sprinted at the end.
Verity was bitten by the running bug after winning the first cross country race she entered while at her previous school and now trains three times a week with her club St Edmunds Pacers, including a gruelling hill running session on Saturdays.
She has been successful both in cross country and on the track over 1,500m and last October even represented the East region in the TCS Mini London Marathon – a race for youngsters held over the closing stages of the London Marathon on the morning of the event itself.
Verity said: “I like running because you can quite clearly see your improvement and it helps you keep pushing yourself. I also like training with my friends.
“If I can finish in the top 10 at the national finals, that would be good, but I’d be really pleased if I can do better.”
Unfortunately, Jasmine will not have the chance to test herself at the English Championships as there is no national final in her age group.
However, she was delighted to win the Anglian title and hopes it will be a springboard for future success.
Jasmine, who trains with the Cambridge & Coleridge club, said: “I was very proud of my achievement because it was the first big race I’ve won and it was really good fun.”
She added that her elder brother George had been very supportive with her running after she decided to take up athletics alongside her regular swimming training.
“George is quite an experienced runner and he’s helpful before races just explaining what I need to do,” said Jasmine.
“It’s quite inspiring because he has qualified for the national finals and that’s what I could be doing in a few years’ time.”