Hannah Kitchen rounded off her cross country season in superb style on Saturday by finishing 28th in the UK Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Crofton Park in Birmingham.
The Rickmansworth-based Great Britain international triathlete had hoped to “sneak into the top 100” at the event, which was the final race of the British Cross Challenge and attracted a high calibre field because it was also served as the World trials.
The women’s race was over 8km and the Watford Harrier completed the course in 30.08 to cross the line as the first Hertfordshire lady in the 270-strong field and help the senior county ladies team to 12th place.
“To finish 28th exceeded all my expectations and I couldn’t be happier to finish the cross country season and the toughest race of them all with such a strong position,” the former Watford Grammar School for Girls pupil said.
“I had a good gauge of how I was getting on during the race because I had my family letting me know from the side.
“So I am really pleased with my final place.”
Kitchen’s performance has seen her selected for the South of England at the Home Countries International event in Nottingham on March 22 and she is delighted with the call up.
“I never expected it and I’ve never been chosen for anything like this before. I am really excited and hopefully I can do well there.” Kitchen now turns her attention to the triathlon season.
She trains two to three times every day as well as working twice a week as an osteopath.
She admits it is not easy but believes her dedication will be rewarded.
“There are a lot of early mornings,” she said. “I don’t really have rest days either because I work in the afternoons, so I count that as my rest.
“I am looking forward to the triathlon season and the cross country competitions have really helped me.
“I will be competing in the British Elite Super Series during the summer and that is going to be a tough competition.
“But my cross country results have boosted my confidence, so I am excited.”
Fellow Harriers Angela Halford finished 217th in 34.49, Chloe Dearman (24.14) was 206th in the Under-17 race while Thomas Rayner (17.47) came 95th in the Under-15 boys event.