National medals for Keighley & Craven AC team… After becoming the North of England Road Relay Champions 2 weeks ago at Warrington, the Keighley & Craven AC U13 girls’ team visited Sutton Park in Birmingham this Sunday to compete for a national medal. The team made up of Katie Atkinson, Angelina Bairstow and Lucy Fryers have been training for this, the most prestigious team race in UK Athletics, for many months and all travelled to the event on top form. The girls decided to stick to their northern winning order of Atkinson on the first leg, followed by Bairstow on leg 2 and Fryers on the anchor. The 3.8KM course was much hillier than the northerns course, but this suited our Yorkshire Dales trio. Atkinson stuck to the team plan perfectly on leg 1 tucking in behind the lead runner. She averaged 5:57 minute mile pace and handed the baton over to Bairstow in second place, just seconds behind Thames Valley AC. New to this standard of athletics, Bairstow was always going to be the team member under pressure, however she kept a very cool head. At one point, Bairstow actually overtook the leading Thames Valley runner, but was caught by two of the UK’s leading young athletes from Wreake and her Northern rivals Liverpool AC. Bairstow kept her Keighley team mates right in the race, keeping the 2 leading athletes in her sight and maintaining her race pace of 6:36 minute miles to hand the baton over to Fryers just 35 seconds behind Wreake in 1st and 13 seconds behind Liverpool AC. Our youngest athlete, and one of the youngest athletes in the race, Lucy Fryers made it an exciting finish for the hundreds of spectators. She paced the first half of the course perfectly, gradually making time up on the leading athletes. With just 500m to go, Lucy charged past the 2nd placed Liverpool athlete and hit the finish line in second place, just 12 seconds behind leaders Wreake. Fryers averaged 6:08 minute mile pace. The Keighley girls averaged 6:13 minute mile pace over a combined distance of 7 miles. They finished 2nd out of 57 of the best UK teams and are now UK silver medallists. Coaches Will Smith and Scott Bairstow were thrilled with the achievement of the Keighley girls. Will Smith said the future of athletics in the Keighley and Craven area has never been as exciting. There are many very talented young athletes now training and racing for Keighley. We’ve had occasional national ranking athletes in the past, but to have a full squad of top UK athletes, and now a team ranked 2nd in the UK, the future looks great for us.