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Lewis Sullivan and Suffolk win gold medals at Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships

PUBLISHED: 12:07 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:08 09 March 2020

Suffolk's under-15 boys' winning team, from left: James Peck, Ben Peck, Lewis Sullivan and Oliver Hitchcock

Suffolk's under-15 boys' winning team, from left: James Peck, Ben Peck, Lewis Sullivan and Oliver Hitchcock

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Lewis Sullivan’s sensational season continued with victory at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships, in the process spearheading Suffolk to terrific team gold medals in the under-15 boys’ age group at Loughborough on Saturday.

Lewis Sullivan, on his way to victory in the under-15 boys' race at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships, at Loughborough. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDLewis Sullivan, on his way to victory in the under-15 boys' race at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships, at Loughborough. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Lewis Sullivan's sensational season continued with victory at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships, in the process spearheading Suffolk to terrific team gold medals in the under-15 boys' age group at Loughborough on Saturday.

Sullivan followed up his fantastic win at the English National Cross Country Championships, from a fortnight earlier in Nottingham, with another dominant display against the best athletes in the country to complete a notable double.

The Bury St Edmunds-based 15-year-old, who is a pupil at Sybil Andrews Academy on Moreton Hall and is a member of Saint Edmund Pacers, actually scooped three gold medals on the day, adding the team award and the British Cross Challenge title to his individual Inter-Counties gold.

He was superbly backed up in the team stakes by fellow Suffolk athletes Ben Peck (fifth), Oliver Hitchcock (11th) and James Peck (17th).

On the podium: Suffolk's Lewis Sullivan, centre, flanked by runner-up Chris Perkins (left) and third-placed Alex AdamsOn the podium: Suffolk's Lewis Sullivan, centre, flanked by runner-up Chris Perkins (left) and third-placed Alex Adams

It was only the second time that Suffolk had ever won team gold at the Inter-Counties, following on from the victory of the under-17 women's team of 20 years ago, in 2000, which comprised Ellie Trickett, Victoria Kenny, Sarah Partridge and Kirsty Waterson.

"It was another great weekend," enthused Sullivan, who is coached by Martyn Brophy at the Pacers.

"The course was pretty tough, not over-boggy, but the mud still weighed down the legs and slowed you down. It felt a lot harder than it should have been.

"It was a 4.5K distance, and I started off at the front. I was tucked in behind Chris Perkins for most of the race. We were basically running side-by-side, with him just in front, until the final kilometre.

"I then managed to pull away, up a long gradual rise uphill, and he couldn't reel me back in. I had about a 10-second lead at the end, so it all went perfectly to plan.

"I'm having an unbelievable season. I'm unbeaten in my age group, so it's going better than I could even have dreamt.

- One-two for Suffolk at English National Championships

"And it was a great day for Suffolk, to win the team medals. That was a big highlight for us. We have terrific team camaraderie," added Sullivan, who also won the British Cross Challenge due to his previous wins in the Series at Liverpool and Cardiff.

Sullivan clocked 14mins 30secs, with Chris Perkins (North-East) second in 14:38 and Alex Adams (Warwicks) third in 14:45.

Brandon-based Ben Peck, in the bottom half of this age group, produced another superb run in fifth (14:50).

The Thetford AC athlete, who trains with Sullivan at the Bury track once a week, was second to Sullivan at the English National Championships, and was crowned Inter-Counties champion in the under-13 age group last year, at the same Loughborough venue.

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The successful under-15 team was closed out by Culford School's Hitchcock, a member of Ipswich Harriers, and Ben's older brother James Peck.

This same quartet had struck team gold at the English Schools Championships the previous March, going on to represent English Schools at the Home Countries International in Dublin.

Elsewhere, Verity Valentine (Pacers) was an impressive 13th in the under-13 girls race, having finished 14th at the recent English National event.

The trio of Freddie Adams (46th), Will Lowden (68th) and Tom Henson (69th) packed well for Suffolk in the under-17 men's race, while Liam Davison led the way with 19th for the under-13s.

In the under-20 section, Suffolk's leading performers were James Pettersson (21st, men) and Maddie Jordan-Lee (16th female), while Hannah Pettersson (51st) and Charlotte Christensen (58th) were to the fore in the senior women.

In the colours of Essex, Colchester & Tendring AC's Sam Plummer was an excellent runner-up in the under-13 boys' race, and there were top-100 finishes in the senior men's ranks for the Colchester Harriers duo of Adrian Mussett (76th) and Angus Holford (95th). Southend's Adam Hickey was second overall.

Harriers' Milly Presland was 99th in the under-17 women's race, and CATs' Freddy Richardson 59th in the men's equivalent.

Results

Suffolk results at Inter-Counties Championships:

Under-13 girls: 13 V Valentine 14:46; 95 A Taylor 15:50; 128 E Wright 16:08; 140 A Crabb 16:14; 202 I Moore 16:49; 221 P Gaunt 17:00; 234 F Wilcox 17:09; 255 L Hitchcock 17:30. Suffolk 21st team.

Under-13 boys: 19 L Davison 13:58; 74 J Trangmar 14:30; 143 T Taylor 15:04; 156 A Taylor 15:11; 212 S Melero 15:43; 215 M Jeffery 15:44. Suffolk 22nd team.

Under-15 girls: 149 A Goddard 19:44; 183 M Lansdown 20:13; 259 E Marshall 21:33; 264 F Aston 21:45; 289 S Gathorne-Hardy 23:25; 291 S Allen 23:30. Suffolk 37th team.

Under-15 boys: 1 L Sullivan 14:30; 5 B Peck 14:50; 11 O Hitchcock 15:06; 17 J Peck 15:13; 80 R Shearer 16:02; 134 M Berry 16:29; 198 B Phillips 17:07; 207 L Wallace 17:19. Suffolk 1st team.

Under-17 girls: 152 M Dann 25:33; 186 R Morley 26:23; 236 D Brooke 28:09; 243 L Genner 28:37; 269 J Bilner 32:35. Suffolk 39th team.

Under-17 boys: 46 F Adams 22:35; 68 W Lowden 23:01; 69 T Henson 23:01; 159 S Burkitt 24:25; 175 E Turner 24:48; 239 M Bennett 26:37; 246 J Webb 26:54; 253 D Bradnam 27:27. Suffolk 13th team.

Under-20 women: 16 Maddie Jordan-Lee 26:17; 41 P Unthank 27:26; 52 Millie Jordan-Lee 28:15; 132 H Heines 37:23. Suffolk 11th team.

Under-20 men: 21 J Pettersson 33:00; 92 S Stevens 36:15; 102 M Snowden 36:42; 141 S Quercia-Smale 38:58; 150 M Moore 39:46; 175 K Church 45:53; 177 C Bilner 47:45. Suffolk 17th team.

Senior women: 51 H Pettersson 48:24; 58 C Christensen 48:59; 131 J Gooderham 52:01; 200 E Wix 56:13; 219 A O'Hare 57:33; 233 K King 58:59. Suffolk 17th team.

Senior men: 206 S Ramsey 46:00; 217 J Smith 46:25; 252 A Southwood 47:46; 260 S Williams 48:09.


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