VALE Royal Athletics Club runners made their mark in the Cheshire Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

The event was held at Reaseheath College in Nantwich where weeks of persistent rain had made parts of the course particularly awful, while other parts were surprisingly in good condition.

Fortunately the weather on the day was lovely after the early mist cleared.

Races commenced with the under 11s.

Max Roberts and Ella Drake both recorded fourth-place finishes to lead their teams of three to bronze and silver team medals respectively.

George Wright, 13th, and Oscar Rowling, 16th, featured in the boys team, while Orla Coates, 11th, and Jane Carrington, 12th, secured the silver with Drake.

In the under 13s boys race, Harvey Brown also came home fourth and along with Alexander Kruithof, 8th, and Billy Spann, 10th, took silver.

For the girls, Lily Coates ran well to finish in fifth place.

Samuel Conkie, 14th, was Vale Royal’s first athlete to finish in the under 15 boys race, and with Noah Simpson, 15th, and Tom Jenkins, 19th, the team bronze was achieved.

Vale recorded its only race victory when Robbie Price led the under 17s event from start to finish in the first of the races to encounter the now infamous third field.

With Rhys Bowden and Harry Parker-McLain coming home in fifth and sixth places, the team took a well deserved gold medal.

Eva Jha, in her first race in many months due to a persistent leg injury, came so close to victory when long-time leader Esme Heavey from Warrington Athletics Club almost collapsed in the finishing sector, holding on to win by just three seconds.

Darcey Murphy also ran a fine race to finish third and, along with Erin Carney who finished 11th, the girls took the silver team medal.

In the under 20s women's race, Hope Smith made a fast start and was rewarded with a bronze individual medal.

Helen Smith was Vale Royal’s first senior woman to cross the line, having toiled to catch Anna Begbie for much of the race.

Smithh was first VF50 and Begbie third VF40. Along with Julia Hartley and Debbie Moreton, the women took silver team medal.

In the senior men's race, Aaron Doyle and Raif Serif led out the field on the first lap in a group of about 10 athletes and things were looking good for another race win.

However, James Tilley, formerly of Nantwich RC and now of RunThrough North, worked his way to the fore and gradually pulled away, stringing out the initial group and taking a comfortable victory from Doyle and Serif.

With Jacob Brown, eighth, Sam Whitehead, ninth, Mark Crabtree, 12th, and Stuart Doyle, 13th, Vale Royal’s six-man team comfortably took the team gold medal.

Stuart was first VM50 and Crabtree second VM45.