SHORTLY after Holly Weedall crossed the line last weekend she turned around and waited for the next runner in Vale Royal Athletics Club’s colours.

She shouted encouragement as, one by one, another four blue and yellow vests closed in on the finish.

“You would never have thought she’d just done something historic,” said Shaun McGrath, her coach.

“She was as cool as a cucumber.”

Weedall won a gold medal in the under 15s girls’ race at the English National Cross Country Championships, continuing a flawless run of form since the turn of the year.

It is a first for her club too; while they have won a team title at the annual event, an individual victory has eluded them.

McGrath added: “We’ve broken our duck.”

But if the 14-year-old, a student at Weaverham High School, was considered a potential champion then she wasn’t fazed.

After celebrating county and regional triumphs last month, there was reason to fancy her chances.

“I knew it was possible,” she told the Guardian.

“And so I promised myself I’d give absolutely everything.”

It was a plan that worked.

She led from the start in near-perfect conditions at Harewood House, in Leeds, and had pulled clear of a 350-strong field after storming up the first hill of a demanding course.

A challenge from Maisy Luke (Cornwall AC) after the first kilometre faded as quickly as it had formed, leaving the Vale Royal star to break the tape in 15:03 – eight seconds ahead of her closest-rival.

She said: “The race is a bit of a blur but I do remember how horrible the hills were!

“They were really steep, and where were tons of holes around the course.

“I felt as though I was stumbling all over the place.

“It was an amazing feeling to cross the line, although part of me was relieved too that I had made it that far.”

Grace Roberts, who finished just outside the top 30, Ellie Bushill and Isobel Ashcroft were the other counters for a team that classified fifth.

Weedall said they had studied a list of previous winners etched onto a trophy, awarded first to Margaret McSherry from Cambridge in 1966, that she received as a reward for her success.

“There are people on there who have gone on to big things,” she added.

“And my name will be on there with theirs.”

Results (selected Vale Royal AC members only)

English National Cross Country Championships

Saturday, February 23

At Harewood House, Leeds

Senior men (12km): 452. Patrick Stradling 44:22; 517. Mark Crabtree 45:05; 1912. Colin Rathbone 1:05.50; 1962. Richard Pettitt 1:10.21.

Senior women (8km): 57. Sarah Murphy 31:51; 68. Amelia Pettitt 32:16; 316. Clara Pettitt 37:17; 1008. Carole Williams 57:38.

Teams: 44. Vale Royal AC 1449pts.

Junior men (10km): 56. John Humphries 31:12; 100. Josh Betteley 32:32; 103. Cameron Weaver 32:37.

Junior women (6km): 92. Cara Gibbons 26:22.

Under 17s girls (5km): 6. Holly Smith 18:35; 75. Ellie Grinnell 20:35.

Under 17s boys (6km): 230. Sam Washington 24:28.

Under 15s boys (4km): 28. Jake Wilson 14:23; 114. Will Ashfield 15:11; 252. Dylan Carney 16:32.

Under 15s girls (4km): 1. Holly Weedall 15:03; 33. Grace Roberts 16:12; 89. Ellie Bushill 16:56; 99. Isobel Ashcroft 17:03; 201. Faye Conboy 18:19.

Teams: 5. Vale Royal AC 222pts.

Under 13s boys (3km): 143. Josh Williamson 11:40; 202. Harry Godwin 12:00; 249. Oli Washington 12:18; 273. Ben Fisher 12:27; 301. James Dixon 12:46; 383. Joseph Bland-McKenzie 13:58.

Teams: 34. Vale Royal AC 867pts.

Under 13s girls (3km): 45. Alice Gale 11:50; 171. Hope Smith 12:44; 239. Eloise Babbington 13:13; 242. Darcie Hudson 13:14; 294. Tarlia Higginbotham 13:35; 340. Molly Roberts 14:00.

Teams: 22. Vale Royal AC 697pts.