Intercounties Cross Country, Wollerton park – 10th March 2024

by Rory Hart

On Saturday the 9th of March it was the 2024 inter-counties XC championship in conjunction with the final of the British Cross Challenge, and the World Cross Selection.

After being selected to represent the north east as a U17 based on performances in the NEHL and other races, I got the team bus down to Wollaton Park, Nottingham.

We were all given yellow vests with blue, red and yellow rings, as modelled in the only photo of me (blurry, left) I could find, Liam Mcdonough (right, middle) and Joseph Close (far, right). In my race there were 290 of the best U17 runners in the United Kingdom from 43 counties.

For me, I didn’t have a great race as I felt rubbish on the day, and in my warm up which was a little disappointing, and I was also spiked. The start was very densely packed with a lot of weaving required, and I found myself boxed in before things eventually strung out (or became a little less crowded; things never really “strung out”). I was then spiked by another runners’ shoes at the end of my first of 2 laps, taking my shoe off, and making a sizable hole down my heel. Although I finished the race, I wasn’t able to run properly, especially downhill. After the race, the First Aid team put 5 stiches in my heel after confirming my achillies was ok. (as shown in this delightful photo)

Even at the end, the race was very tightly packed with 10 seconds covering the 20 positions between me and my cousin Jack (running for Merseyside).

Whilst not ideal, a fantastic excuse for not running my best. The performance of our team earned us 11/43 teams, with Elliot Kelso coming back first, 32nd overall. I came 6th in the team, 104th overall.

The event itself was very exciting with running commentary and plenty of impressive racing and athletes to watch, like Calum Johnson winning the senior men’s race and leading the North East to 1st Senior men’s team, and Abbie Donnelly doing her 3rd world cross qualifying performance this season.

All in all, a great, if slightly disappointing, chance to represent the north east and watch the best runners in the country. Full results can be found here:  and the live stream here