RUNNERS from South Lakeland joined more than 9,000 athletes across the age groups taking part in the English National Cross Country Championships at Harewood House in Leeds.

Although the course was challenging and the weather a little too warm, underfoot conditions were dry resulting in fast times in all age groups.

Fourteen-year-old Kendal athlete Fraser Sproul knew just what lay ahead and his experience at this level and race ability saw him mixing it with the leaders in the U15 boys' race from the gun. He finished just outside of the medals in fifth place completing the four kilometre course in 13-50. The race was won by Wharfedale's Alexander Thompson in 13-27.

Earlier, in the U13 girls' race Leven Valley's Jessica Bailey (11-15) produced a storming run to finish eighth, just 23 seconds adrift of Exeter's Scarlet Livingstone who won in 10-52.

Kendal's Sarah Smith (11-33) turned in another stunning performance to finish 20th while Leven Valley's Georgia Bell had a great run, coming home 56th in 11-55.

In the U13 boys' race, won by Thetford's Benjamin Peck (9-51), Eden's Thomas Renwick placed 32nd in 10-46.

Competition was fierce for the U17 men's race won by Wallsend's Samuel Charlton (18-48). Eden's Robin Regan (20-17) turned in a strong performance to finish 43 while a little further behind in 110th was his team mate Sol Johl (21-44) who was immediately followed over the line by Kendal's Jacob Smith.

In the junior men’s 10km race Kendal's Luke Bowen produced a gutsy run to finish 63rd in 31.25. The race was won by Morpeth's Rory Leonard in 28-27.

In the senior ladies race Emily Hosker Thornhill, of Aldershot Farnham & District, was untouchable, winning by 11 seconds from Wycombe's Philippa Woolven (28-28). Sarah Tunstall (30-45) came home from the Alps to support Kendal and finished a respectable 34th in a field of 1,034 runners. After a traumatic car journey Rebecca Robinson (32-00) only just made the start but came through to finish 61st . Kendal's Jackie Nowell, Hazel Clark, Helen Greenep and Dianne Priestley finished within 44 seconds of each other followed by Carolyn Kevan, Sue Booth and Joanne Pennington.

There was a field of 2,006 runners in the senior men's race which was won by Southampton's Mohamed Mohamad who finished one second ahead of Emile Cairess, of Leeds. Jonny Dry flew the flag for Kendal to finish 191st in 41.27 followed by Matt Doey (45-27) and Duncan Copley (50-30), just out of the top half of the field.