IF coaches at Vale Royal Athletics Club needed to remind everybody of their ability to nurture emerging talent then Holly Weedall has delivered that message.

She did so emphatically too.

Her victory in the under 15s girls’ race at the English National Cross Country Championships last weekend is a historic one.

The teenager, already a champion in her age-group at county – for both club and school – and regional level since the turn of the year, becomes the youngest Vale Royal athlete to win an individual medal at the annual event.

None of her predecessors brought back a gold one though.

More than 350 rivals, many of them older, followed the 14-year-old around a 4km course at Harewood House in Leeds.

However her blue and yellow vest broke the tape eight seconds before her closest-rival crossed the line in second.

“It’s a bit of a blur,” Holly told me during a phone call on Monday.

“I remember thinking it was amazing to cross the line. I felt relieved too!.”

Hers is a remarkable achievement.

The Weaverham High School student said that had started to sink in when she read a list of previous champions on a trophy she can display at home in Winsford for the next 12 months.

The past two winners of the under 15s title in Leeds, Jessica Judd (2010) and Steph Twell (2004), both went on to represent Great Britain.

That isn’t to assume Holly will follow, but rather to highlight how good you have to be to become English champion in her chosen sport.

“It’s hard to understate what a huge feat it is for a club of our size to win gold at an event on that scale,” said Shaun McGrath, one of her trainers.

To illustrate his point, Vale Royal Athletics Club formed in 1994 following a merger between Mid Cheshire and Winsford.

Neatly, they have a national cross country title 25 years later.

They had to wait two decades for a first medal when Stevie Stockton took silver in the junior women’s race in 2007.

She matched that feat as a senior three years later.

In between, Charlotte Roach finished third in the junior women’s race.

Amelia Pettitt, who did the same in 2015, completes the list of those that have stood solo on the podium.

“That it keeps happening proves it’s no fluke,” said McGrath.

That it does despite there being a deficit in outdoor facilities – endurance athletes split training between Knights Grange in Winsford and Hartford Campus – compared to neighbouring clubs in Cheshire should be remembered.

The fact Vale Royal puts mid Cheshire on the sporting map in spite of that isn’t a justification to maintain the status quo.

Indeed a synthetic track here, proposed most recently in 2015, has still never been laid.

As it is, runners still want to join the best endurance group for miles around.

Two recent examples, Ellie Bushill and Isobel Ashcroft, transferred from Crewe & Nantwich this winter.

That duo were counters for Vale Royal in the same race as Holly and Grace Roberts, and together they finished fifth.

They know volunteers like McGrath and Andy Carter, who competed at the Olympic Games over 800m in 1972, can help them improve.

In truth the club didn’t need to send a signal, even if this one can only enhance their reputation.