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Zoe puts her best foot forward to claim title

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

Zoe Gilbody can lay claim to the title of best in Britain after rounding off a stunning cross country season.

Zoe Gilbody.

The Prestfelde School student led from the front for the Shropshire team in the British Inter County Cross Country Championships at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough.

She put her best foot forward as she defied the muddy conditions to win the under-13 girls’ title, with her victory even more impressive given the fact she lost one of her running shoes halfway through the race.

Despite that handicap, she still finished a staggering 26 seconds ahead of her nearest rival, Shaikira King from Leicestershire.

She has happy memories of this venue as she also won the National Primary Schools Championships there two years ago.

The win also saw Zoe win the overall British Cross Challenge following earlier victories at Cardiff, Milton Keynes and Liverpool and followed up her success in the National Championships at Nottingham two weeks earlier.

It has been an outstanding season for Zoe, who left her rivals trailing to win the Shropshire AA Championships in January and the Shropshire Schools Championships in February. She also pocketed a silver medal in the Midland Championships.

Zoe was well supported by fellow Shropshire runners in the Inter County Cross Country event, with Bethany Trow finishing 67th and Rosie Kind 99th, giving the county three runners in the top 100, which is an impressive achievement at this very high level of competition.

The under-13 team, which also included Daisy Frost, Emily Gapper, Ava Kind, Ava Watkinson and Isobelle Standell, finished 14th out of almost 50 counties from throughout the UK, Shropshire’s best team result on the day.

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Shrewsbury School’s Will Singleton had an impressive run in the under-15 boys’ race, finishing 19th. He was just under 30 seconds ahead of the Midland Counties champion Dan Galloway (Bridgnorth) with Jude Lins (Shrewsbury) finishing 85th.

The team finished 16th. Archie Wickens, Tim Strebel, Charlie Preece and Cato Pugsley completed the line up.

England international fell runner Will Kay led the Shropshire Under-17s home, finishing 29th – just 15 seconds ahead of his team-mate, Midland champion Liam Rawlings (40th).

The team, which also included Harrison Cutler, Will Owen, Joe Gilling and Evan Roberts finished 17th overall.

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Oswestry triathlete Matthew Collins, found the muddy conditions to his liking. He was the first Shropshire Under-20 to finish in a very fine 43rd.

The team finished 18th with Tom Wilde, Max Green, Paddy Barlow, Luke Moses and Adam Tatton completing the line up.

Wenlock Olympian Beth Rawlinson maintained her impressive form by crossing the line in 11th place in the Under-15 girls’ competition – her first race in that age category.

Rawlinson, who attends Concord College, won the Midland Championships on the same course in January, a success which was sandwiched between impressive gold medals in the Shropshire AA and Shropshire Schools Championships.

She has a good pedigree in these championships having finished eighth and second in the under-13 age group in the previous last two years.

Rawlinson’s impressive effort helped the county secure its fifth top 20 team position on the day. Iris Downes, Maggie Preece, Sinead, Aimee Craven and Lucy Gapper provided solid support.

Jack Kinrade was the leading under-13 boy, racing home in 61st place.

GB international fell runner Sara Willhoit was the county’s leading senior woman, finishing 53rd.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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