Graces races at top international

Grace Baker finished 12th in a strong junior women's field at the Edinburgh International Cross-Country
Grace Baker finished 12th in a strong junior women's field at the Edinburgh International Cross-Country

In spite of finishing 12th in a top international junior women’s field, local girl Grace Baker was not happy with her performance in the Edinburgh International Cross-Country.

Scotland decided to throw mud, a howling arctic wind and horizontal sleet at the athletes gathered for the three-way match between Great Britain, the USA and Team Europe on Saturday.

This is an annual fixture that GB usually dominates, although not last weekend, as GB trailed in third place.

Pett-based Baker was not the only athlete out of sorts as European champion Gemma Steele, the hot pre-race favourite, came home 11th in the senior women’s race.

Baker, the 18-year-old Aldershot, Farnham & District athlete, was in philosophical mood after the race.

She said: “It wasn’t too bad. I finished just three seconds behind the runner who came third in the recent European Champs. The trouble is you need to be on your top game in this sort of field and just okay allows other athletes to gain on you.”

It is likely that Baker was still feeling the after effects of the very difficult conditions she endured the previous weekend at the Sussex Cross-Country Championships, which was perhaps less than ideal preparation.

The former Rye and Bexhill College student has travelled back to Royal Holloway University in London to resume her studies and training.

Baker’s next big test will be the British University Championships later this month at Brighton’s Stanmer Park, where she is in a team with fellow AFD athlete Emelia Gorecka, the current European 3,000m champion and winner of the senior women’s race last weekend in Edinburgh. The pair will hope to upset the dominance of Birmingham, St Mary’s and Loughborough Universities.