Mattie Raynor retains Green Park Challenge title in Reading 1-2-3.
Reading's young athletes were again well to the fore in the Green Park Challenge on Sunday morning, filling the first three places, with U17 runner Mattie Raynor winning for the second year in succession in racing to a convincing victory ahead of Laurie Baker and Aryan Gupta.
On a cold morning Mattie set a scorching pace from the start, as he opened a significant gap on the chasing group, and had gained a 30 metre lead within the first kilometre. Up the hill and into the stadium he increased his advantage further to win decisively in a time of 9.25 for the 2.8km course. Laurie and Aryan both ran strongly before Laurie eventually moved ahead in the final stages to finish second in 9.34, with Aryan third in 9.39. Olly Moor was also in contention for the medals for much of the race, but unfortunately was forced to retire with a recurrence of the hip problem which has prevented him racing since before Christmas. The fourth Reading AC athlete to finish was U15 Oli Snoxall in an excellent seventh place, recording 9.55, and not far behind were Edward Lewis (11th in 10.15), Ben McCabe (12th in 10.21) and Aidan Marshall (15th in 10.28).
Next to finish, in 19th place, was Luke Ashby (10.44), although he was just beaten on chip time by young Josh Smith who finished in a fine 23rd position (10.43) after being made to start with in the second wave of runners together with our other 10-year-olds. Then came Nick Haldane in 22nd with 10.54, Jacob Sheikh in 28th with 11.15 (11.11 chip time), Laurence Hahn 34th in 11.24 (11.07), Tommy Elson 37th in 11.24 (11.08), Elio Babb 43rd in 11.34, Billy Newman 49th in 11.43 (11.26), and Louie Bellanti 57th in 11.55.
This impressive set of results gives good encouragement for the coming track season, when there may well be some fierce competition for places in the representative teams.
Report by Keith Whyte