South of England victories for Ruby Vinton and Ben Peck
PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 January 2019
Ruby Vinton produced a terrific sprint finish to retain her under-13 girls' title at the South of England Cross Country Championships, which were staged at the notoriously tough Parliament Hill Fields on Hampstead Heath in north-west London on Saturday.
Exciting talent Ruby, a member of Ipswich Harriers, had won the South of England title at Brighton 12 months ago, just pipping her older rival Charlotte Dewar – both girls were credited with the same time.
It was just as exciting last weekend, as Ruby, who has enjoyed another fine first half to the cross country season, pulled away during the closing metres of the 3km course to win by just one second.
Ruby clocked 12mins 06secs, just overhauling Tonbridge RC’s Lily Slack (12:07), with another Tonbridge athlete, Olivia Breed in third (12:14).
“I’m very happy with the way that the race went, although it was very close,” enthused Ruby, who is a pupil at Woodbridge School.
“I didn’t really have a plan. I wanted to see who was running, and at half-way I decided to stay where I was, in third spot.
“I waited until later in the race and then decided to go for it. I timed it well, overtaking the leader (Slack) near the finish.
“The Brighton course last year was a lot flatter than this course. There were lots more hills, which I don’t mind, although there was also lots of mud to plough through.
“I’m currently training five days a week, mostly after school with (coach) Mark (Goddard).
“I’ve got some more big races coming up, in which I’d like to do well,” added Ruby, 12, who lives in Grundisburgh.
Last year, Ruby was crowned Suffolk county cross country champion (at Culford School) and Anglian Schools champion (at Holbrook), as well as finishing 16th in her age group at the London Mini Marathon in April.
In addition, she finished eighth at the Inter-Counties Championships in Loughborough, and was 37th over the Parliament Hill Fields course at the English National Championships, despite suffering from a chest infection that day.
This season has followed suit, with a win at the English Schools Cup Regional Finals on home turf at Woodbridge in November, a week before tasting victory at the Eastern Counties Championships.
Last month, Ruby won the South of England Inter-Counties Championships in Oxford, while 2019 kicked off with her retaining her Suffolk county crown at Culford School. She does not turn 13 until August.
Her Mum Lisa Vinton said: “Fortunately for us, Ruby’s race (under-13s) was only the second race of the day, so the course wasn’t churned up.
“She knows how to pace herself. She seems to be able to stay calm, and was in a good place going up the hideous first hill at the start, in about fifth spot.
“She did well to sit back and then run strongly in the home straight to take first place.”
Looking ahead, Ruby will compete for Suffolk Schools at the Anglian Schools Championships in Northampton this weekend, followed by the Inter-Counties in Loughborough (March 9) and the English Schools Championships in Leeds (March 16).
Meanwhile, another Suffolk athlete tasted victory at last Saturday’s South of England event, with Ben Peck winning the under-13 boys’ race.
A member of Thetford AC, Ben roared to victory over a 3K course, clocking 11:04 to finish 10 seconds clear of runner-up Will Rabjohns, of Poole AC, plus third-placed Harry Prescott (both 11:14).
It was an outstanding run by Ben, who won the Suffolk Championships under-13 title at the start of the year, and was third at the recent Suffolk Schools Series B Championships in Woodbridge, competing in the bottom age group.
A pupil at Mildenhall College Academy, Ben was third at the British Athletics Cross Challenge event in Liverpool last November, having lifted the 1,500m Suffolk county title on the track last summer.
For Suffolk athletes to win both the South of England under-13 titles, therefore, is a tremendous achievement and a big boost for the county.
But under-13 champions Ruby Vinton and Ben Peck were not the only Suffolk runners to shine, at the South of England Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hills Fields, in north-west London.
Lewis Sullivan, a member of Saint Edmund Pacers and a pupil at Sybil Andrews Academy, was sixth in the under-15 boys’ race. He is in the bottom half of his age group, and was only 12 seconds off a bronze medal.
Ipswich Harriers’ April Hill finished 11th in the under-15 girls’ event, with club-mates Mia Dann (61st) and Amy Godard (84th) also in the top 100, while the Harriers’ duo of James Pettersson (19th) and Nathan Goddard (28th) ran well in the under-17 men’s section.
Phillippa Unthank claimed 11th in the under-20 women’s race, and fellow Harriers Matt Snowdon (42nd, under-20s) and Holly Fisher (32nd, under-17 women) were also to the fore.
Suffolk & N-E Essex athletes:
Under-13 girls: 1 R Vinton (IH) 12:06; 96 V Valentine (SEP) 13:56; 108 P Harpur-Davies (ES) 14:02; 179 E Morran (BBD) 14:48; 181 A Taylor (WS) 14:48; 202 F D’eath (SEP) 15:00; 217 P Gaunt (IH) 13:12; 221 T Clancy (WS) 15:17; 261 J O’Brien (SEP) 15:57; 264 F West (SEP) 16:04; 276 F Keighley (SEP) 16:21.
Under-13 boys: 1 B Peck (TAC) 11:04; 8 H Dover (CATS) 11:31; 85 S Plummer (CATS) 12:39; 102 M Fisher (IH) 12:48; 105 R Shearer (WS) 12:49; 108 A Taylor (WS) 12:50; 109 T Taylor (WS) 12:51; 113 J Trangmar (WS) 12:52; 118 R Grady (IH) 12:53; 195 J Lugo (IH) 13:29; 230 G Goodby (BBD) 13:49; 316 J Dann (IH) 18:50.
Under-15 girls: 1 A Hill (IH) 16:49; 61 M Dann (IH) 17:58; 84 A Goddard (IH) 18:22; 126 S Allen (WS) 19:10; 171 F Aston (IH) 19:47; 176 A King (IH) 19:54; 179 R Morley (WS) 19:58; 186 M Lansdown (IJ) 20:04; 225 S Allen (SEP) 20:53; 242 S Scaife (IH) 21:16; 283 R O’Brien (SEP) 23:13.
Under-15 boys: 6 L Sullivan (SEP) 15:29; 15 J Peck (TAC) 15:53; 21 J Smith (BBD) 15:56; 33 F Adams (IH) 16:17; 57 O Hitchcock (IH) 16:37; 108 E Gladwell (IH) 17:11; 114 O Woodward (SEP) 17:15; 126 R Bourne (SEP) 17:27; 155 C Regan (CATS) 17:52; 184 H Wakefield (SEP) 18:21; 213 J Denny (SEP) 18:50; 228 D Marsh (SEP) 19:08; 254 P Lowther (BBD) 19:41.
Under-17 women: 32 H Fisher (IH) 20:39; 79 N Perry (SEP) 22:24; 82 M Salsby (IH) 22:32; 95 C Cavill (WS) 22:50; 109 D Brooke (IJ) 23:07; 121 J Bilner (IJ) 23:24.
Under-17 men: 19 J Pettersson (IH) 22:25; 28 N Goddard (IH) 22:51; 62 D Millward (CH) 23:36; 69 S Stevens (IH) 23:50; 168 D Bradnam (SEP) 26:11; 199 M Bennett (IJ) 27:16; 201 C Long (WS) 27:18; 209 J Webb (SEP) 27:45.
Under-20 women: 19 P Unthank (IH) 25:41; 29 E Gray (CATS) 27:22; 48 L Woodruff (IH) 29:15.
Under-20 men: 42 M Snowdon (IH) 27:48; 75 J Robson (SEP) 28:55; 83 P Wain (IJ) 29:22; 84 F Richardson (CATS) 29:27; 96 S Quercia-Smale (SEP) 30:48; 102 J Grady (IH) 31:32; 113 C Bilner (IJ) 35:33.
IH - Ipswich Harriers; WS - West Suffolk AC; SEP - Saint Edmund Pacers; IJ - Ipswich Jaffa; TAC - Thetford AC; CATS - Colchester & Tendring; CH - Colchester Harriers.