A SCHOOLGIRL paddler did Runcorn proud in the National Marathon Championships at Wokingham - in the process earning a maiden call-up to the British team.
Jenny Illidge, a first-year U16s competitor, finished a superb fourth in both K1 (individuals) and K2 (pairs) events.
The Heath College pupil, 15, was part of a double with Caroline Rowlinson of Chester.
She will compete for the British junior team in France at the 18th International Marathon of Loire as the only U16 girl selected.
The event on Saturday, September 29 will see Jenny tackle the 17km course as a solo canoeist and she has won praise from Jamie Mayers, her Runcorn club chair man.
Former Halton sports person of the year Mayers knows only to well what it takes to make it to international standard - already this year, he has claimed two seventh places as part of a GB senior K4 team in Valladolid, Spain.
He said: 'Jenny has been doing well for a few years now. She has steadily improved and this is her best result yet.'
The individual event over eight miles at Wokingham saw Jenny clock one hour six mins to finish two minutes behind the winner.
She has followed her father Graham, into the sport.
Not to be outdone dad finished tenth at the nationals in the eight-mile K1 race for over-44s.
And eleven-year-old Amy Wignall - Jenny's cousin - won the U12s title over 2km by a distance to make it further cause for family celebration.
She was only beaten by one of the boys at her age group while another Runcorn member Chelsea Brooks, also 11, was fourth behind Amy.
In senior events, 33-year-old Mayers - like Jenny Illidge a recipient this year of a sports bursary from Halton Borough Council - recovered from a 'disastrous' ninth spot in the K1 to finish third in the K2 over 19 miles.
Meanwhile, Runcorn's Maggie Dilai, 21, finished seventh in the 16-mile senior women's race at Wokingham - further proof of improvement in her short time at the Clifton-based club.
This weekend, the marathon canoeists will show their versatility by joining other Runcorn paddlers at the Inter-Club Sprint Regatta at National Watersports Centre, Nottingham.