Race of Grace’s life earns bronze

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Grace Baker had perhaps the best race of her life in Liverpool last weekend.

The McCain UK Cross Challenge series event incorporated the trial for the Great Britain team for next week’s European Championships in Slovenia.

On instructions from her lead coach Mick Woods, Pett-based Baker entered as a dress rehearsal for next year when she will be eligible for GB selection.

Placing eighth overall in the combined under-17 and under-20s race, however, would have been good enough for the 15-year-old to qualify this year had she been some two months older.

The Aldershot, Farnham & District athlete, who spends the majority of her training time at Hastings Athletic Club, was frustrated by the apparent unfairness of the selection policy.

But Baker was reassured by the England junior team manager, who indicated that, on the basis of this performance, she could well be selected for the forthcoming under-20 internationals.

Baker was also compensated by winning the under-17 bronze medal and finishing well ahead of last year’s national champion.