TAVISTOCK Run Project’s Oliver Smart claimed his third top five finish in a national event within the space of five weeks at the weekend.
Smart, running in Devon colours, finished fourth in the under-20 men’s race at the combined CAU Inter-County Championships and British Athletics Cross Challenge event at Loughborough.
That followed on from a fourth-place finish in the men’s short course race at the BUCS Championships and a fifth-place finish at the ECCA Saucony English National Championships.
England international Smart and his Devon team-mate Johnny Livingstone led last weekend’s race for a spell. They and Shropshire’s Liam Rawlings and Kent’s Louis Small pulled away to form a leading group of four, but Smart and Small just got dropped in the closing stages. Rawlings ended up winning, with Livingstone second and Small third.
Despite having two runners in the top four, Devon just missed out on a team medal by four places. They had to settle for fourth spot. Erme Valley’s Jamie Frost was part of the Devon team and came 76th.
City of Plymouth’s Jacob Harrison had a good run, finishing 16th for Cornwall in the same race.
There was a strong Armada presence in the Devon and Cornwall teams competing in the under-15 girls’ race.
Devon had three finishers in the top 27 but did not have a fourth scorer in the top 150 and so missed out on a team medal, finishing eighth out of the 44 county teams.
City of Plymouth’s Molly Shorey was 27th for Devon, with her club colleague, Holly Reid, representing Cornwall finished 54th. Tavistock Run Project’s Holly Cole, City of Plymouth’s Madeleine Jones, Tavistock’s Lara Dix and Erme Valley’s Bella May were part of the Devon team, while Plymouth’s Molly Gilbey and Abbie Chapman were in the Cornwall team.
There were top 100 finishes for Tavistock’s Tilly McDowell in the under-20 women’s race (54th) and team-mate Charlotte Walker (81st) in the under-17 girls’ race, as well as Plymouth Harriers’ Johnny Gilby (98) in the senior men’s race. Tavistock’s Ben Neale was not too far behind in a strong men’s race, finishing 124.
Jo Meek just missed out on a top 100 finish in the senior women’s race, finishing 102nd. Tavistock team-mates Nikki Kelly, Jenny Jeeves and Hannah Worth were also part of the Devon team.
Also representing Devon in age group events at the championships were Tavistock’s Fynn Baker, Hannah Walker, Anya McAulay, Isabella Trowell, Ewan Dix, Plymouth’s Martha Wilson and Erme Valley’s Matthew Gilvear and Isabella Trowell.
Full results can be found HERE.
This weekend a number of the region’s top young athletes will be in national action again when they compete at the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Maidstone in Kent.
Meanwhile, the final Armada Winter 3k Series run took place on Wednesday night at Central Park.
Scott Mansfield was first home in a time of 10.40 minutes. City of Plymouth’s Finley Squires finished second in 11.08 and Plymstock Road Runners’ veteran athlete Graham Bale was third in 11.19.
Cornwall AC’s Lowenna Riley was first woman home in 12.49 minutes, with Ruth Farr-Semmens second (13.13) and East Cornwall AC’s Hayley Marriott third (14.13).
Full results can be found HERE.
Next month the Armada Summer 5k returns to the Saltram Estate for the first time since 2019. The first run in the series takes place on Wednesday, April 13 at 7pm.