FOUR Croydon Harriers took on the best runners in the UK while representing Surrey at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships in Birmingham last Saturday.
Peter Chambers finished 14th in a high-class field in the U20 men's race in a field of 200 finishers. The Trinity School pupil was Surrey's third scorer and helped the county secure the team title in the process. Ben Savill was 112th in the same race.
In the U17 women's category, Stevie Lawrence was an unofficial 80th, while improving Rob Spalding finished 153rd in the U15 boys' competition out of 288 runners.
Less than 24 hours later, Spalding challenged in the season's final Downs League race at Epsom Downs. In an enthralling finale, the 14-year-old led his two nearest challengers over the two-mile course until ten metres before the finish line and ultimately had to settle for third as well as third overall in the four-race series.
Omar Harhara was fifth and Dane Lawrence tenth in the same race to ensure Croydon finished runners-up on the day and third overall in their team standings. Caitlin Dixon was 16th in the U11s race and ninth overall.
On the road Neil Aikman's preparations for the London Marathon continued apace at the Spitfire 20 in Cranleigh, finishing 60th in two hours, 21 minutes and 59 seconds to cross the line in 60th and 24th M40.
Sophie Bates, building up for the Brighton Marathon, was 13th in the women's race in 2:35.34. There were 548 finishers.
In indoor action at the British Masters championships at Lee Valley, Mandy Rowley-Jones struck silver in the W50 triple jump with an 8.91m effort, and was fourth in the long jump (4.02m). Kim Heamans finished fifth in the W45 long jump in 3.13m.
In the outdoor throws, Tony Richards won a clutch of medals, with silver medal-winning performances in the shot (11.98m) and discus (39.75m), but struck gold in the javelin thanks to a throw of 35.21m.
In the pick of the ParkRun action, Alan Burn secured a third-place finish.