SPORTING sensation Beau MacDonald is celebrating being crowned national cross country champion.

The 12-year-old, who lives in Leigh, sped away from his rivals in the under-13s final at Mount St Mary’s College in Derbyshire.

But Beau also excels on the football pitch and is a highly-rated winger in Southend United’s academy.

And his father Derek is proud to see Beau doing so well in both sports.

“Beau works really hard and it was fantastic to see him get the win in the national final,” said Derek.

“He sprinted away up the hill right at the end to get the win and it was a great moment.

“But he’s also doing really well with his football.

“The coaches at Southend United seem to rate him highly so one day there may be a choice to make.

“But at the moment he’s enjoying both his running and his football.”

Beau, who attends Eastwood Academy, won both the borough cross country championships and the regional event to take his place at the national final where he was joined by more than 200 other runners.

But Beau produced an impressive performance and is now ranked number one in the country.

“Beau is number one now which is fantastic and he’s put a lot of time and effort into achieving that,” said Derek.

“He ran in the nationals last year but the race is for Year 7 and Year 8 pupils so he was running against older athletes and came ninth.

“He was first in his year but of course the standard is very high so he’s up against a number of top runners.

“There are twins Beau runs against who are brilliant and he was just behind them before the final hill.

“But Beau’s schoolteacher was standing at that point watching and just before he started to sprint his teacher said Beau gave him a look he said he would never forget because he knew he was going to win.”

Beau also runs on the track for Southend Athletics Club and also receives additional coaching from Adam Hickey, who captained the Great Britain squad at the European Championships on Sunday.

And Beau has followed in Hickey’s footsteps by winning the ESSA finals.

“Adam does work with Beau and he shared a Facebook post this week which had a picture of him winning the same event when he was also in Year 8 which was great to see,” said Derek.

“Adam’s a lovely guy and he’s done a lot to help Beau with his running.”