CROSS-COUNTRY: Bellamy pleased with podium place
LILLIE Bellamy was one of the top local performers as she stormed to second at the South West Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Bicton College, Devon.
The 16-year-old Swindon Harrier completed the muddy 4.3km course in 16 minutes 50 seconds, finishing just 25 seconds behind Wells City Harrier Isobel Glaisher in the under 17 women’s category.
That represented the fulfilment of Bellamy’s pre-race target of a place on the podium, an achievement she was delighted with.
“I was really happy to finish second,” she said.
“My goal was to finish in the top three as I have never made the podium for this race before, so I was really chuffed.
“Just before the race, I had a conversation with my coach Neil England on the phone and he gave me some tips and pointers. I had a plan in my mind and with his advice just put everything into it.
“The course was quite muddy and had some incredibly steep hills, so I really had to dig in and grit my teeth in certain parts.
“But I was really happy with my race, as I achieved my goal and stuck to my plan. Isobel ran really well, so I tried to focus on her and keep her in sight.”
As a result of her performance, Bellamy will now compete in the national inter-counties at Cofton Park in Birmingham on March 9.
She also hopes to be part of the south west team that takes part in the Mini London Marathon, an event she has run in four times before.
Bellamy added: “It is such an amazing experience and atmosphere to run the last three miles of the marathon.
“I am looking forward to hopefully taking part as this is the last year I am eligible to run, as there are only races for under 13s to under 17s.”
A number of other local athletes competed in Devon and there was podium joy for Ridgeway School pupil Kieran Garraway, who clocked 13 minutes 33 seconds to finish third in the under 15 boys.
Marlborough AC’s Gemma Shepherd took victory by 18 seconds in the under 15 girls, winning in 14 minutes 44 seconds. Charlie George was unfortunately forced to pull out after a promising start.
In the under 17s men, Swindon Harrier Will Ballard returned from injury to finish 10th in a strong field while under 13 debutant Oliver Read ended in a creditable 55th.
Another Harrier, Michael Chandler, was 78th in the senior men’s race, which incorporated the under 20s and veterans.