THE current best women’s under 20s cross country runner in Europe first came to the attention of Warrington Guardian cameras at Walton Gardens.

It seems only fitting that Lymm’s Harriet Knowles-Jones was storming to gold in Slovakia on the same weekend as the final round of the 2017 Warrington Athletics Club Schools Cross Country League was taking place.

For it was in that same league, 11 years ago, that the Great Britain athlete initially showed the promising talent that has led to her becoming a medal-winning international performer not only on cross country terrain but on the track, too, over 1,500m.

At nine-years-old, back in December, 2006, Knowles-Jones clinched the Warrington primary schools girls’ overall cross country title for Ravenbank Community Primary School.

That was an impressive success for one so young, achieved with two years of studying still to go at the primary school level as she raced against runners more than two years older.

She missed out on the title the following year due to missing one of the three races in the series. Incidentally, Knowles-Jones won both races she contested.

In her final year at Ravenbank she finished second, while the winner Carys McAuley also went on to compete at international level.

Knowles-Jones has come a long way in 11 years.

For all those youngsters who took on the snow at Walton Gardens on Saturday she is a role model and the perfect example of how far dedication and hard work can take you.