CROSS COUNTRY: Loren's magnificent seven

LOREN Bleaken notched up a remarkable seventh successive victory in the North Wiltshire Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Grittleton House School, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The 17-year-old Hardenhuish School sixth former reckons she has never lost a race in the event since making her debut in the 2006 minor girls’ event – since when she has gone on to become one of the best runners in the country.

“It is hard to remember exactly but I am sure I started running this event in the minor girls’ and I have never lost or missed a championships since then,” said Bleaken.

After two titles in each age group, through minors into juniors and inters, Bleaken moved effortlessly into the senior girls’ and after a brief tussle with Sheldon School’s Gemma Shepperd, who won the inter title in the combined race, cruised to victory.

“I have won this race every year and that is a nice record to have,” she said.

Ella Luffman, of the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, finished second, with Hardenhuish’s Emily Walton, third.

The Jones boys’ dominated the older age group races with 17-year-old Alex, the county 800m champion, lifting the senior title at the first attempt.

The Sheldon School student, who trains with Bleaken under coach Adrian Clover at Team Bath AC, was too strong for colleague James Green with Alfie Cross of Corsham third.

Fellow Sheldon School athlete Ethan Jones won the inter boys’ title with teammate Jay Pinter third behind David Bunce, of Hardenhuish.

To complete a good day for Sheldon, who finished top of the medals table with four individual golds, one silver and two bronzes, Sean Johnson won the junior boys’ race with Willliam Cross, of the host school, a popular second for their only medal success of the day.

Following hard on Sheldon’s seven medals came Hardenuish on six while Corsham School came third with three.

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