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Henry Sheffield is UK U13s XC Champ

National recognition for Henry Sheffield

Henry tops the podium at the UK Intercounties XC Champs - it was very muddy!!

Cirencester Athletics Club had a reason to celebrate last week when the national publication, Athletics Weekly, reported that Henry Sheffield topped the UK cross-country rankings for under 13 boys in 2019-2020.

Unbeaten in all the races to count for this prestigious accolade, Henry started his campaign in Cardiff on 12 October 2019 winning his age group in the British Athletics Cross Country Challenge with a time of 9 minutes 21 seconds. Henry then won the Schools Cross Country Championships held in Newent in December 2019 before going on to compete on consecutive days starting with our own Gloucestershire County Championships held at Rendcomb College. By his own admission Henry took this event, hosted by the Club, “easy”, but still secured a win before winning again the following day in South West Inter County Championships held in Yeovil. The final race to count for this impressive achievement was the UK Intercounties Championships on 7th March 2020 in Loughborough which Henry won with a time of 13 minutes 12 seconds.

Henry is no stranger to success as in July 2019, then aged 12, he competed against a field of all comers in the Cheltenham mid-summer Open Track Championships. Here he lined up beside teenagers and senior men to secure 4th place in the 200m in 28.9, 5th place in the 800m in 2.18.5, 6th in the 100m in 14.6 sec and 8th in the mile in 4.59.1. He then capped this by coming first in the U13 1500m South West Inter Counties Championships at Exeter with a time of 4.34.49.

Henry receives the Bob Hussey Memorial Trophy

We have long been in awe of Henry’s precocious talent and were delighted when he was recently awarded the Bob Hussey Memorial Trophy at the 2019 Gloucestershire AAA awards ceremony. Henry is the youngest athlete to have ever received this award, which honours the best track performance by a county runner, male or female and has been given to a succession of very successful athletes over the years. Henry’s potential was clear when he capped his 2018-2019 cross-country season with a superb triumph at national level by finishing 13th in the UK Intercounties Cross-Country Championships. Competition was at its highest level at Loughborough with entrants fighting for places at the World Cross-Country Champs. In April 2019, Henry took part in the London 3 mile mini marathon achieving 8th place in 16.30. Finally Henry’s personal best for a parkrun of 16.55 for the 5 km was achieved at the Severn Bridge event last December.

Sadly it seems unlikely that there will be a track season for Henry to compete in this year but he remains hopefully that the London Mini Marathon will take place on the rearranged date in October and that he can shine again in the Cross Country 2020/21 season. We wish him every success in all his endeavours be they on track, trail, in the water or in the classroom.


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