WITH runners collapsing around her Jade Littlechild had to dig deep to survive her fifth consecutive appearance for Wiltshire at the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships.

The 17-year-old Corsham School student endured a biting cold wind and snow showers as she battled to finish 75th and first Wiltshire runner in the senior girls’ race at Temple Newsam Park, Leeds.

“They were the toughest conditions I have ever run in at the English Schools’ and you were really tested as an athlete,” said Littlechild.

“It was quite scary at times as quite a few girls in front of me collapsed, probably from hypothermia I guess. Actually one of my Wiltshire team-mates collapsed during the race and said afterwards she just blacked out.

“Fortunately she was okay afterwards but it was so tough out there.”

It was also so windy that the Wiltshire team tent blew down leaving the runners with nowhere to shelter from the conditions while they awaited their event.

“The tent just collapsed and took off in the wind,” added Littlechild. “It just got so cold waiting around and I was there at 10am and didn’t race until 2.35pm.”

To finish 75th and first Wiltshire scorer as a first year senior was a creditable achievement in what was her final cross country race of the season.

“It wasn’t one of my best races this winter but I dealt with it and did my best on the day,” said Littlechild.

“Hopefully next year I can come back for my final appearance in the event and at least halve that – hopefully the weather might be better!”

In the same race Trowbridge runner Caitlin Wosika, who was representing Avon, finished 157th.

On his first attempt in the senior boys’ age group Avon Valley Runners’ athlete Max Davis enjoyed his best result in the event.

The 16-year-old paced his effort well working his way steadily through the field to finish in the top 50 with 46th place to eclipse his previous two appearances of 82nd and 172nd in the inter boys’ age group.

“It went better than expected as I had a vague target of making the top 100,” said Davis.

“It was definitely one of my best races and up there with my run in the South West Schools’ (bronze medal) and the South of England (20th in the under 20 men’s race).

“I am very pleased with my season and it went better than I expected.”

Top Wiltshire runner in the senior boys’ race was Hardenhuish School student James Wright.

“I was looking for the top 150 so was quite pleased with 137th with my first time as a senior,” said Wright. “Next year I’ll be back looking for the top 35.”

Younger sister Megan Wright led home the Wiltshire squad in the inter girls’ race finishing 90th.

“It was really cold and muddy but I enjoyed it and was pleased to finish first Wiltshire runner,” said Megan, aged 14. “

The undoubted highlight for the Wiltshire squad was a gold medal for Salisbury youngster Bea Wood in the junior girls’ age group.

English Schools’ Cross Country Championships, Temple Newsam Park, Leeds

Senior boys teams: 34 Wiltshire 1272 (137 James Wright; 188 Niall Thorne; 218 Robert Howorth; 221 Otto Copping; 245 Mark Poynting; 263Dan Davis).

Inter boys: 33 Wiltshire 1109 (78 Bertie Pettit; 132 Max Sockett; 170 Will Morris; 221 Patrick Mochan; 244 Dan Poynting; 264 Ollie Campbell).

Junior boys: 33 Wiltshire 1141 (100 Ollie Phillips; 121 Robert Jones; 141 Max Hopcraft; 237 Harry Woods; 249 Harry Cunningham; 293 Jack Gunning).

Senior girls: 33 Wiltshire 1167 (75 Jade Littlechild; 174 Catriona Edington; 186 Lucy Fitzpatrick; 199 Alice Sullivan; 253 Becky Service; 280 Alice Uloth).

Inter girls: 32 Wiltshire 1113 (90 Megan Wright; 106 Isobel Horsfield; 184 Amy Richards; 215 Lara Smyth-Osbourne; 252 Jessica Davies; 266 Maddie George).

Junior girls: 7 Wiltshire (1 Bea Wood; 27 Olivia Roderick; 107 Lilly Jones; 108 Orli Cranston; 128 Freya Buglass; 141 Jadey Griscti)

Will Stockley had a busy afternoon competing at the Mark Cawte Memorial Open meeting in Swindon.

The Melksham Oak School student stepped out of his comfort zone – he has been running cross country all winter - with some short speed work winning the 600m in a PB of 1mins 28.3secs and clocking 40.2secs in the 300m, also a PB.

Also in the 600m there were PBs for Hardenhuish School student India Ibbotson (1:51.2).

There was a one-two for the Lavington Athletics pair of Callum Rea and Jacob Wilkinson in the 150m clocking personal bests of 17.0secs and 17.8secs respectively with Wilkinson also winning the under 20 men’s long jump with a PB of 5.53m.

Rea showed his all-round ability by finishing first in the senior shot with 10.29m and there was another Lavington Athletics winner in the 300m with teenager Louis Streeter sprinting to victory in a PB of 44.7secs.

From Marlborough & District Juniors there were PBs for Greg Rogan Rea (18.7secs) and Kieran Short (17.8secs) in the 150m.