A RHYL teenager who took up athletics less than two years ago has been chosen to represent Great Britain.

Oliver Birch-Jones, 17, will compete in the European Age-Group Triathlon Championships in Vichy, France, in September 2024.

He qualified through his performance in this summer’s Bala Tri in which he finished 87th out of a total field of 552.

The competition was actually reduced to a duathlon because of the low-lying mist which led to the swim being cancelled, and Oliver considered swimming to be his strongest discipline.

Oliver, a student in Coleg Cambria on Deeside, is a member of Prestatyn Running Club and has been in excellent form, regularly finishing in the top five in the Nova parkrun and last week completing the Conwy Half-Marathon – his first – in 1-28.07.

On Saturday (November 25), he turned out in his first cross-country race for the club in Baschurch, near Shrewsbury, and despite being one of the youngest in the senior men’s race finished in a fine 90th place.

Rhyl Journal:  Most of the Prestatyn runners who competed at Baschurch on Saturday Most of the Prestatyn runners who competed at Baschurch on Saturday (Image: Submitted)

The team finished third in Division Two and with two races left have a good chance of taking one of the two promotion places.

There was a strong and hugely encouraging turnout with 23 of the club’s men and women in action on a new and challenging course.

Once again, the outstanding individual performance came from Gordon Jones, who had a real tussle with Eryri’s dogged mountain runner Russell Owen before pulling away in the closing stages to win the M65 class.

Results: Senior men: 16 Tom Carter 27.22, 65 Lee Bailey 30.53, 90 Oliver Birch-Jones 32.12, 98 David Ellis 32.42, 109 Ben Thomas 33.29, 131 Dan Liddle 34.42, 141 Simon Bonfield 35.41, 159 Marc Jones 37.15, 163 Reg Jonas 37.47, 177 Karl Martin 43.23. Team: 3rd.

Men over 65: 1 Gordon Jones 19.50., 28 George Nixon (4th M70) 27.38, 37 Roger Harrison-Jones (1st M85) 35.14.

Ladies: 26 Lisa Lines 22.14, 91 Helen Ashworth 25.54, 95 Ann-Claire Jones 26.31, 105 Sophie Johnson 27.30, 124 Rachel Jackson 29.20, 129 Cara Jones 30.02, 131 Liz Martin 30.14, 133 Helen Alefounder 30.18, 142 Debbie Jones 31.24, 154 Emma Birchall 38.24, 135 Julie Evans 38.38. Team: 7th in Division 2.

Girls under 11: 13 Olivia Standring-Jones 5.35. Girls under 13: 19 Freya Valerio 11.14.

The Prestatyn club achieved fine results in the Nova parkrun despite many regular competitors being occupied elsewhere in Baschurch.

Results: 1 Steve Stocker 19.04, 5 Cam Askan 20.47, 14 Darren Thompson, 32 Martin Gill 26.20, 52 Nem James 29.12, 64 Cathy Wood 31.39, 81 Linda Friar 33.23, 115 Ian Cummins 44.47.

Rock Riverside Parkrun (Queensland): 78 Martin Cortvriend 24.18.

Zinderpark Parkrun (Netherlands): 50 Nicki Triggs 26.26.

Next Sunday (December 3), the club teams will once again be  in action as Wrexham host the third Borders Road-Running League fixture.

As in the Cross-Country League, the men’s team currently lies third, but the gap to second is far wider.

The women are fourth in Division Two at the moment.