Super Samuel begins the new year in style with the county crown in cross-country race
PUBLISHED: 16:30 10 January 2020
After the excess of Christmas, Ilford AC youngsters were back in action for what will be a busy January with five races and three championships.
The Essex Cross-Country Championships in Basildon came first and Ilford were in fine form.
The under-17s over 5k saw Ilford have four runners with the boys and girls combined in a field of 60.
After the initial charge, a group of about 20 broke clear which contained all the Ilford team.
They had hatched a plan to try and keep the pace fairly slow and as they approached the hill for the first time, Aaron Samuel was just behind the leaders closely followed by Jak Wright and Bradley Deacon.
When they returned into view, Samuel was in first place and went on to win by 14 seconds.
Cheered on by the Ilford supporters, Wright held on to take the bronze, while Deacon was seventh.
With three runners in the top seven, it all rested on final scorer Farris Patel, who despite his dislike of the mud, produced his usual great sprint finish to come 16th as Ilford took the team trophy once again.
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Mungo Prior and Jordan Hinds were in the under-20's race, where the men and women again ran together.
Prior made a positive start in the men's race and was actually leading for the first mile or so, but after the first lap he had dropped back to third, finally finishing seventh.
Hinds has been training well all winter and also made a good start, and was looking strong early on, but the field split up very quickly and this meant she had to run most of the race on her own, coming eighth.
The seniors, meanwhile, ran over 10k with several climbs.
The men were headed by Ahmed Abdulle, who was always up with the leaders, finishing fifth in 33.28.
Tom Gardner was next in 19th with Alex Richards 29th, Paul Grange 31st, Oscar Peris one place behind him and Paul Holloway in 69th.
They combined for fifth place overall, while also in action were Seb Parris, John Crawley, Diarmuid MacDonnell, Sam Rahman and Dan Holeyman.
For the women, Anna Crawley was a fine 32nd in 45.14, with Amy-Louise Bird in 52nd and the evergreen Bree Nordin in 59th.
Also in action was Sharon Honey, who closed the team in 11th place by finishing 78th.
Alison Sale had a good run for 88th and Julia Galea was consistent in 108th, while Doris Gaga picked up several places with a strong second lap to be 112th.