ATHLETICS: THURROCK Harriers’ Gemma Holloway battled her way to 16th place at the English Cross-Country Championships at Nottingham’s Wollaton Park.

The 16-year-old Palmer’s College student has been battling illness for the past few weeks.

And her place at the prestigious championships was in some doubt.

But she was given the all clear to run and fought bravely to claim a top 20 finish.

Despite being laid low by illness, Holloway still had enough strength to come through the field in the final kilometre.

She picked off a number of her rivals before eventually crossing the finish line in 16th position. Holloway will now be looking to continue her rise back to health in time for next month’s event.

The UK Intercounties Championships takes place in Birmingham on March 8 when the Essex under-17 women’s team have a real chance of a medal.

Another Thurrock athlete who came through the field strongly in the second half of his race was East Tilbury’s Tom Richardson.

Richardson, 19, who runs for Basildon AC, came home in 28th place in the under-20 men’s race.