Sarah Astin fails to gain GB under-23 selection

Lorna Spiers (left) and Lydia Morris pictured with Steve Cram, one of the greats of British athletics, at Sefton Park, Liverpool on Saturday

Lorna Spiers (left) and Lydia Morris pictured with Steve Cram, one of the greats of British athletics, at Sefton Park, Liverpool on Saturday

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Sarah Astin’s attempt to clinch selection for Great Britain’s under-23 women’s team at the European Cross-Country Championships ended in disappointment at Sefton Park, Liverpool on Saturday, writes David Griffiths.

The Manx Harriers athlete ran a very strong first half of the 8.1 kilometre trial race alongside the top senior athletes in the country and was in and around the top four automatic selection places in the u23 category. But her demanding recent racing schedule took its toll in the second half of the race as she faded to finish 10th in the under-23 category (28th overall).

Astin has enjoyed a magnificent year and the fighting spirit she has shown throughout will stand her in good stead at her championship races during the second half of the winter. She will have further opportunities to earn a GB vest in the u23 age group in 2015.

Ollie Lockley and Alan Corlett finished 84th and 122nd respectively in a high quality men’s race, Ollie placing 31st in the u23 category. Katie Astin was 23rd in the u17 women’s race with a determined run.

Four talented young athletes from Northern AC also competed, gaining valuable experience of high-class competition. David Mullarkey finished in an excellent 10th place in the u15 boys race, running in the leading pack for most of the race and finishing very strongly.

Ashleigh Lachenicht, making her off-island cross country debut, finished in a fine 42nd place in the u15 girls race and looks to have lots of potential.

Lorna Spiers and Lydia Morris were two of the smallest athletes in the u13 girls race and ran great races. Lorna came home in 18th place, a really fine performance, while Lydia battled gamely to a 62nd place finish despite feeling unwell after the drive down the M6 from Lancaster.

l The attention of many local cross-country runners will now be turning towards the Lancashire championships in Blackburn on January 3.

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