IT appears ironic that a good cross country season, involving mud, grassy park land, hills and all the best that that British Winter can throw at you leads to team selection for the comparatively clean, road route that is the Mini London Marathon.

However, that is precisely what happened for a good number of local junior runners this year.

The route for all age categories follows the last three miles of the London Marathon.

Starting at Old Billinsgate, near London Bridge, competitors run along Upper Thames Street, through Blackfriars Underpass and along Victoria Embankment to Westminster Bridge.

Here it takes a sharp right to pass the Houses of Parliament before travelling along Birdcage Walk to the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Place.

Another right turn then takes them to the final 200 yards along The Mall and the finish line. However, there is no time to take in the sights as they are all concentrating on positions and a good run!

On a cloudy but bright April morning, eight local juniors ran for Yorkshire and Humberside, alongside the best runners the country has to offer in each age category.

Craven College student, Matt Merrick (Bingley Harriers) finished a very respectable ninth in the under-17 boys’ race in a time of 14.38 mins, following a season where he has got better and better.

Joining him in the team was Giggleswick School boy Euan Brennan (Ilkley Harriers) who was 36th (15.13). Overall, Yorkshire and Humberside under-17 boys won the team prize.

Ilkley Grammar School girl Bethan Morley (Ilkley) ran in the under-15 girls’ race to finish 64th (19.04).

Skipton Girls’ High School's Lilli Carr (Keighley and Craven) and Alice Jones (Wharfedale Harriers) ran in the under-13 girls’ race and were 22nd (18.08) and 32nd (18.27) respectively.

South Craven School boy and under-13 boys Yorkshire Cross Country champion, Sam Smith (Wharfedale Harriers) ran a hard race in the under-13 boys’ category to come 15th and Bradford Grammar School boy Alex Flaherty (Bingley Harriers) finished just behind him in 16th place (16.44).

However, the best individual result of the day went to Ermysted’s Grammar School boy Alex Thompson (Wharfedale Harriers).

After a great cross country season where he won the English School’s Cross Country Cup Final, the British Athletics Cross Challenge Cross Country Series and is ranked third in the country for under-13 boys cross country, he ran a fast race to come third (16.09) in the under13 boys’ race.