No Tears But A Few Drops

Saturday started out wet and windy when our dedicated team of volunteers led by Richard arrived at the course to continue the set-up that had begun on Friday. Waterproofs had been donned by most people as the rain was not due to cease until mid-afternoon and there was a lot of work to be done to make another successful event.

Now Richard works very hard on the fixture and as we all know has added in the additional stress of the cross-challenge for the last two years, just for the extra difficulty, but he loves it really. He definitely couldn’t do it without all the help from other people both within our club and outside though. There are too many to mention everyone here, but from everyone who was able to run instead of having to man a car park or marshalling point, thank you very much to those who gave up their day to do exactly that. You may not feel appreciated as we run past scowling, but you are.

The rain in the couple of days prior to the event made the course a somewhat different challenge this time around to February as it started wet and slippery for the youngest and gradually got more and more muddy despite the sun coming out for the final race.

On the day, due to the cross-challenge fixture – and to a degree the RAF vs Oxford Uni match – it was quite difficult to judge how well people had run. However, the publication of the results yesterday brought everything out in the wash.

In simple numbers, looking at the division 1 results, all of the races had increased participants from Keysoe by 5-20% depending on the race. You could argue therefore that if you finished in a similar position then that represents an improvement.

Our team of seven U11 boys had an excellent performance to finish 5th on the day with Daniel May leading them home in 20th place ahead of the two Thomas’ of Hirst-Mitchell and Keane in 27th and 37th respectively. Aaron O’Dwyer, Riley Maffaet, Evan Hirst-Mitchell & Daniel Mann came home at regular intervals to ensure a strong team performance.

The small but perfectly formed team of U11 girls all finished in the middle of the field as they experiment in their first season of cross-country. Hattie Grimshaw, Julia Bell and Charlotte Keane were 46th, 60th and 63rd respectively.

U11 Girls

Our U11 girls enjoying their day in MK

The U13 boys were 6th on the day with Dom Grimshaw in 11th place leading home a team of six lads in an almost identical performance to the first fixture. Owen Lindars, Scott Towell, Harry Bell, Max Rose and Dom Hayman on debut all successfully negotiated the slippery two-lap course.

Niquole Carter & Zara Brooks swapped around their finishing positions for this race in the U13 category with Zara in 40th and Niquole in 45th, Jess Weedon was the third vital team member in 54th. Ellie Rabbits led home a five-strong team of U15 girls by getting into the top 20 for the first time. Dana Carter and Evie Gilmour finished together with Caitlin Bell just 30 seconds further back. McKenna Keefe continued her excellent recent record of club representation by bring the squad home in 39th place.

In the U17 men’s race, Sam Nicholas, who has recently broken 18 minutes for the MK parkrun came home in 26th which demonstrates the very high standard in that age group. He will undoubtedly be a very valuable asset to the senior men’s team when he steps up next year.

We had seven senior ladies out on the day, with Lisa Bowyer and Caroline Mann making their debuts over the country. They both felt that they didn’t quite do themselves justice but anyone who has run cross-country for a little while will say how it’s about learning the technique for the varied types of terrain and they will undoubtedly improve over the season.

Run of the day for the ladies came from Katie Haylock who obviously just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible having really not felt like running at all. With Gail unfortunately absent the rest of the ladies stepped up well with Liz Peters turning out to join Amy Inchley, Lynn Boddy, and Coralie Anderson in the rest of the squad which finished 11th on the day. The veteran women’s team dropped down to 4th so will need to take  few points off Tring in the next fixture if they want to stay in the medal hunt.

Almost certainly however, the club’s performance of the day was in the senior men, where Ian Grimshaw continued his stunning recent form to finish 18th in the race and 2nd V40 for the second fixture in a row. Ian has always like cross-country but this is a big step up for him and is earning fantastic points for the club.

With three of out top ten from last time unavailable and Pete Mackrell running through injury the team was a little depleted but the return of Elliot Hind and Ben Corfield went some way to making up for the other losses as they came home 3rd and 4th for the club. Sam Dear again improved by finishing just outside the top 100 in completing the scoring ten in what was a significantly boosted field, while Tom May looked to be coming back into a little form by coming home just behind.

Nick & Stuart

Nick chasing one of three Stuarts into the final corner!

Again we had over 20 senior men out racing and as a result finished 5th on the day, but retained our 3rd place overall in the table after two fixtures. As a club we were 8th and have slipped back to 8th out of 14 in the overall standings, but are only 300 points behind Aylesbury in 5th so it’s all pretty close as Tring are over 1000 points behind us in 9th.

The course was dismantled in very good time by everyone that stayed to help out so thank you to all and bring on the next one. The next fixture is at Culham (near Abingdon) on 5th December before we return to the familiar ground of Luton and MK for the final two fixtures in the new year.

Full results can be found on the Chiltern League website or via our own results pages.

The day was rounded off beautifully by (from all accounts) a great club night out at the Wharf Grill in Leighton organised by David Killick. Those that can remember it said they had an excellent time.