Long-distance runner Hannah Viner said she felt “a little disappointed” with her 22nd place finish at the National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill.
The 21-year-old, who runs for Highgate Harriers, finished just outside the top 20 from a field of more than 1,100 runners in the women’s senior race. She said: “I was a little disappointed as I felt quite tired and wasn’t running very smoothly for most of it. I set off well, getting inside the top-20 up the first hill, but my legs were not in it and I found myself drifting backwards in the field quite early on.
“Luckily, since it was a home course for me being a Highgate Harrier, the support was amazing. Most of the marshals were friends of mine and they cheered like crazy. This helped me get over the bad patch of the race and I had a really strong finish, coming through from outside the top-30 to eventually cross the line in 22nd, having overtaken five people in the closing stages.
“Parliament Hill is probably my favourite course so I was at least pleased to get a PB in terms of position in only my second senior National, while it was also great to lead my team home to sixth place which was completely unexpected.”
Her last cross country race of the season – she says she’s looking forward to running on firmer ground, she has spent the winter running in the Start Fitness Metropolitan Cross Country League, where she won the last two races and finished in the top four in the other three. Topping the individual standings of the senior women in the league due to her best four races, her proudest performance on the track was last summer when she won the England Athletics U23 5000m title.
An undergraduate in her second year, where she’s studying English at Kings College London, she’s been running since she was 11, after coming second in the Camden Schools cross country championships, which was her first ever cross country.
She joined the Harriers soon after she started attending running sessions with a coach from Camden Sports Development, after she was told she could no longer be a part of the Alyth Belsize football team as FA rules at that time barred her from playing with boys.
Competing for the Harriers on the track, road and cross country, she also coaches a strong group of U15 boys and U17 girls, and is coached by former 1,500m Olympian Matthew Yates.