Water From All Directions

There were a few different comments coming out the woodwork before the second Chiltern League of the season on Saturday; "There's a water jump to run through?", "It looks a bit flat for my liking.", "Doesn't look too muddy.", "Nice to be at a new course." and "Glad I'm not coming from Bracknell." were just some of them, but they told much of the story of our day.

In recent years our small club has excelled in a few different ways, but most notably of all (in my opinion anyway) is how we come together and prove that our team is far greater than the sum of it's parts and Saturday's run showed that even more than most. We were missing a few runners for various reasons and some weren't quite where they hoped to be but the others stepped up to the mark superbly.

There are clubs in the league with over 700 members and we are almost certainly the smallest in division one, but still put out one of the biggest teams and can often count on just a few fingers the people who are missing and the results are starting to show. Take the senior women, who had three people missing from last month's team, but Katie Haylock had what was probably her best ever run for us to help Gail, Amy, Jane & Fiona earn an excellent 8th place on the day. Despite not being in the scorers for us, Fiona took vital points from three other clubs by being ahead of their scorers.

November 2005 saw a young lady called Lisa Oliver running for the club when we were in division two. She was in the U17 women's race and nine seasons have passed since then, but we now have another competitor in that event in Izzy Bidlake-Hull. I hope Izzy doesn't mind me saying, but it's fair to say she isn't challenging at the front of the field, but what she is doing is picking up a few points to add to overall total and improving her own running along the way, as well as being extremely helpful and taking some great photos. It is this type of effort that makes us the club we are.

We had nineteen senior men out on Saturday which is fantastic as five of our rivals couldn't even complete a team. Fred Watt was our final finisher but he was still taking points off Watford by being ahead of their last scorer. Then if you add up all of the places each of the runners were ahead of other team's scorers it makes a huge difference at the end of the day, particularly when you consider that after two rounds the senior men lie 3rd overall, just 4 points ahead of Windsor. Every single place really does count.

It wouldn't be quite right though to talk about the senior men though without mentioning;

  1. Jordan's outstanding run to finish top 20. He has now done 35 consecutive CCCL, going back to December 2007!
  2. Pete's effort just six days after a 2:42 marathon in a gale in New York
  3. Elliot's vast improvement this year to chase down Pete
  4. Chris & Adam's highest places ever
  5. Charlie's strong step up into the senior ranks
  6. Sam choosing this day to do his first CCCL

Really well done to all for just surviving that downpour and apologies for not mentioning everyone.

It is however, the juniors that are really boosting our position this season. Sam Nicholas once again quietly came and went in the very tough U17 race but is holding his own in what is an incredibly high quality event.

Sarah Plummer & Megan Westrope are a force to be reckoned with off the course and are certainly challenging plenty of other girls on it too. Even with just the two of them, they managed 8th place in the U15 girls and will undoubtedly be looking for a few more scalps in Luton.

We had eight U13's out across the two races as well with Scott Towell leading home Max Rose and Joe Bidlake-Hull before heading off to play in a rugby match! Ellie Rabbitts was once again first home in the girls race ahead of two close battles, with Chloe May just pipping Evie Gilmour and Jess Hawes getting ahead of McKenna Keefe.

Our U11 girls are currently doing an outstanding job as a team. Their results are taken from across all the clubs in both divisions and on the day our girls came 3rd out of nineteen. First home was Niquole Carter, who just missed the top ten by three seconds while Millie Hawes and Zara Brooks finished with the same time in 20th and 21st respectively, just fifteen seconds behind Nicquole. Millie's younger sister Sophie also completed the course in good time to finish 52nd.

Dominic Grimshaw and Ewan Bell were our two representatives in the boys race with Ewan running strongly to finish in 49th place while Dominic couldn't quite match his run from Watford but still performed outstandingly to finish 3rd and retain his overall lead in the individual competition.

Overall, after two fixtures the club lie tied with Luton for 7th place in the division on 3909, 400 points ahead of Aylesbury (who we have never beaten) and 500 behind Harrow. The final three fixtures are all very close to home for us with Luton in December followed by two in MK in the new year. Full results can be found via the results page of the site.

So I hope to see everyone at Stockwood Park on Saturday 6th December for another outstanding day of – slightly drier – cross-country.