YOUNG Wharfedale Harrier Alex Thompson proved that Yorkshire grit and determination can reap their reward at the under-13 boys’ race at the Inter-Counties Cross Country final at Loughborough.

After suffering the disappointment of not being selected to run for Yorkshire, he won the Liverpool and Cardiff Cross-Country Challenge races and qualified for a club place in the Inter-Counties final.

The sky was overcast but the ambient temperature was 12 degrees, and the three-kilometre course was largely firm underfoot, with the odd muddy patch.

The stage was set for some hard, fast running in near-perfect racing conditions, and almost as soon as the starter’s gun had sounded, Alex was among the leading pack.

This was no mean feat as the field was composed entirely of top-class competitors from across Great Britain.

However, from very early on, Alex secured third place behind Jaden Kennedy (Surrey) and Fraser Sproul (Cumbria).

Now it was time for his grit and determination to show as he maintained this position until the finish line, earning himself a bronze medal for the Inter-Counties race, ahead of all of his would-be Yorkshire team-mates.

This also secured him a clear win for the British Athletics Cross-Country Challenge series as he was the first of these competitors across the line, and a large trophy to display in his ever-more congested trophy cabinet.

The first Yorkshire representative across the line was local rival Alex Flaherty (Bingley Harriers) in fifth, while Wharfedale Harriers team-mate Sam Smith was second Yorkshire vest across the line in 34th, helping the team to finish third.

Sam had also raced in the Cross-Country Challenge series and earned himself second place overall.

Other local Yorkshire finishers were Wharfedale’s Alice Jones in 28th place in the under-13 girls’ race, helping Yorkshire to secure second place, and James Hall, who was 17th in the men’s race.