KEITH GERRARD 2ND IN NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY

1    O Freeman     Invicta East Kent AC    22:37

2     K Gerrard    Manx Harriers     22:41

3     M Barnes-Smith    Ipswich Harriers    22:41

Full result here

Thanks to Tony Okell who reports as follows :

Try telling me that this is not one of the best perfomances by any Manx athlete - ever!

In what is reknowned as THE toughest x-country event in the world. Having the ability is one thing, but at 16 and coming from a small island with essentially little if no competion in the same league and to go and take on the big boys on their home ground is awesome. This for anyone who knows their x-country and the National will agree it takes some beating. What a stepping stone into the big time. Keith's performance should not be under-estimated neither should the part played by the people involved in preparing him for this day.

MORE MEDALS FOR KEITH ON SATURDAY

 TONY OKELL IS BEHIND KEITH IN THIS PICTURE AT ABBEYLANDS AND HE IS BEHIND HIM NOW WITH HIS PRAISE

 

 

SENIOR RESULTS:

Gianni Epifani - 145th

Andy Fox - 268th

Darren Gray - 310th

Mark Preston - 323rd

Chris Quine - 439th

FULL RESULTS

 

GIANNI EPIFANI - HIGHEST EVER PLACING IN THE SENIOR NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY  (Picture Murray Lambden)

Best ever finishes:

145     Gianni Epifani (03)

152     Andy Fox (00)

156     Chris Quine (98)

157     Gianni Epifani (98)

168     Graham Clarke (88)

177     Andy Fox (98)

197     Gianni Epifani (93)

215     Andy Fox (88)

and here is Gianni last month in the Manx Champs

ANDY FOX REPORTS

It was such a proud day for Manx athletics. Keith ran a blinder. I think he still feels he could have done better!!! It is that kind of attitude that makes him such a potential. When you compare the result with other performances that I know of at the National it stands out - Youths John Halligan 14th., Junior Graham Clarke 9th. & Gianni Epifani 21st.

Gianni's run in the senior race was the best position by a Manx Harrier ever also 145th. It was quite funny really, we went to see the presentations at the National for the first time ever (never needed to go before) and gave Keith a big cheer, the announcer made the point that this was the first athlete from IOM to achieve a podium position in the National (certainly the men's national). Interestingly all the seniors touched Keith's medal and his spikes and then all had good runs on the day considering fitness levels etc. Perhaps a bit of magic was involved in all of this on the day, who knows. I think the answer is more likely hard work in training but we all can get a bit sentimental on a big day like Sat.

Well we all enjoyed the weekend but now we look ahead. Keith has the English schools in 2 weeks, Colin and I are discussing our group's training in the build up to Easter and the track after that. Chris will be involved in these discussions also. I will forward my full news report later in the week. I think we did miss another chance for some glory on Saturday - the Minor Club's trophy. With the positions recorded by our 5 seniors who finished we must have the potential to win that trophy. Maybe a few of our athletes might like to think about that for next year, it's a great race, but it is something really special when you get on the podium as Keith proved on Saturday. The rest of us were privileged to have been a part of such a great day for Manx athletics it would be nice to enjoy some more medal success in Leeds next year!!!

EARLIER COVERAGE FROM THE NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY

 

ANDY FOX (red shorts of Manx AC) ON HIS WAY TO 215th IN 1988

and the 2002 version! I think he must have been a lot more comfortable than this on Saturday as he had his best race of the winter.

 

 

COVERAGE OF THE NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY

A statistical perspective by Chris Quine (pictured below)

Obviously everyone was delighted with Keith's performance on Saturday. It was surely one of the best performances by a local athlete in the past decade in any event. The only performance in cross country at any time I can think of that compares is Brenda Walker finishing in 6th place in the womens' National in 1992.

The "highest local finisher" always brings in an extra level of interest. Whilst it is true that you can only run against those who are in the race, the number of competitors is very relevant when comparing performance. Therefore, the following analysis is useful.

Using the positions shown, I have compared these as a percentage of the number of finishers (these are approximate as I do not have the exact figures to hand - the point they make is still the same). The lower the score then it would suggest the better the performance. The fall in numbers in recent years appears to have helped runners finish achieve better placings; obvious really that if we assume an even spread in the overall standard, then if there are less in the race finishing positions will be better.

Name

Year

Position/Number of finishers

Percentage

Gianni Epifani

2003

145/1250

11.6%

Andy Fox

2001

152/1200

12.7%

Chris Quine

1998

156/1800

8.7%

Gianni Epifani

1998

157/1800

8.7%

Graham Clarke

1988

168/2400

7.0%

Andy Fox

1998

177/1800

9.8%

Graham Clarke

1993

197/2000*

 9.85%

Andy Fox

1988  

213/2400

8.9%

                   Note - Andy Fox's 152 was at Durham in 2001 not 2000.

* Estimate of number of finishers

 

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