Viner’s time of 34:15 cut 35 seconds from her previous best for the distance, set in the same race last year.
“I wasn’t expecting a PB after my long and tiring cross country season,” commented Highgate Harrier Viner. “But it was a fast course, two laps consisting of straight, flat roads and sharp turns. The conditions were far from perfect, with blustery winds and heavy rain, but it was certainly warmer than England.
“I ran without a watch and was surprised to pass halfway in 16:44, just seven seconds shy of my 5,000m PB. I knew I would slow a bit in the second half, so I tried to stay concentrated one kilometre at a time.
“Luckily the wind was in our favour for the last two kilometres, though we did face a gale in the final straight. Standing on the rostrum with some really classy runners and receiving a massive trophy really topped off the evening.”
Battling weather conditions more normally associated with a climb of Mount Everest, Lia Radus contributed to Team London’s overall win in the England Schools Cross Country Championships. Radus placed 46th out of 339 finishers in the Intermediate Girls’ race at Temple Newsam Park, Leeds.
Radus remarked: “The start was tricky as I was in the fourth row in the pen. But I managed to regain the lost distance quite quickly and move into the top 20. For most of the race I was well positioned and protected from the snow and gales by other runners in front and behind.
“However, the strong winds did affect my breathing. I lost several places on the downhill to the finish as I could not catch my breath.
“Although I am slightly disappointed with my finishing position, I feel proud to have contributed to London placing second in this race and winning the overall championship.”
Dina Silverman, aged ten and from Sacks Morasha Jewish primary, won the gold medal at the Barnet Schools Cross Country one-mile run.
A talented all-round athlete, Silverman, from Finchley, also plays for HGS Vipers — the only girl in the team — in the Maccabi Junior Football League and is a keen swimmer.