Saffron Walden youngster Irwin continues her improvement with second place in the Essex County Cross Country Championship

PUBLISHED: 12:38 07 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:38 07 January 2014

Hannah Irwin and her coach, Clare Thompson

Hannah Irwin and her coach, Clare Thompson


Talented Hannah Irwin’s upward trajectory continued with the teenager putting in another hugely impressive display, this time at the county cross country championships.

The race, held at Hilly Fields in Colchester on Saturday, was a significant event for the Friends’ School pupil for several reasons: it was her first race for her new club, Braintree, and there were county championship medals up for grabs. It was also the qualifying race for the county team for the highest quality cross country event held in Britain – the UK Inter County Championships.

Irwin went into the race in fine form having already broken the course record in the North-west Essex Schools Cross Country Championships, and being the outright winner of the 5k at the Running Show at Sandown Park.

Although only 15, Irwin was competing in the under-17 girls race, while her race also included the under-20 girls and the under-17 boys.

The course was of 5k but very challenging, muddy and hilly. The windy and extremely wet weather also added to the difficulty.

At the gun, Irwin set off at a cracking speed and was positioned well in the leading pack. She settled into her rhythmic pace and was totally focussed on the task ahead.

By the final lap there was only one girl and a small group of boys ahead of her. She produced a storming finish to take second place, just 20 seconds behind the new county champion. She beat all of the under-20 girls.

The fantastic performance clinched for Irwin a runners-up medal, but even more importantly a place in the Essex county team for the Inter County Championships, to be held in Birmingham in March.

Her coach, Clare Thompson, has been delighted with the form and effort of her young protégé.

“Hannah works incredibly hard both at her running and at the regular strength training sessions that she does at Wilbur’s Gym,” said Thompson.

“She is so modest in her achievements and truly deserves this success.”

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