Sorry corny headline but true in some respect. We had a very good turnout and great performances at Stanmar Park for the Southern Cross country champs – the youngsters in main took the coach, with the seniors choosing to stay over for the night life (I’m surprised they had the energy to do so).
On Saturday Brighton was a very crowded part of England, with our event (most important) competing against an open day at Sussex University & the local football team playing Newcastle all next to each other. Nice pickings for the football club who took the money for the parking then planned to kick us out at 3.30 whilst the senior men had only just started –though they met there match in Vikki our coach driver.
It was cold day – but you would have not expected differently, but at least sunny and not muddy. The under 15 boys were first off, a full team of six. Who produced an excellent result in 8th reflecting the strength in depth we have in boys/junior men at present. First home was Joseph O’Hara 50th,Ben Matthews 67th, Joe Crawford 89th, Andre Stone 105th, Lewis Caiels 126th & Luc Legon 192nd. Well done to all these lads
After this great start the under 13 girls wanted in on the act. Marianne Bullen a fine run in 179th, Ruby Wand making her debut was well up the field in 196th, as it was her first race she was advised to take it steady and see how it goes, obviously there was something left in the tank with a 200 m sprint to the finish.
Under 13 boys, only two today, but they again put in very strong shows Okiki Olugunna in 122nd, Harry Jarvis in 151st.
Under 15 Girls,A large and young team here, first over in 112nd as has been all season, was Harley Wooler who was initially well up the field , 2nd was Kattie Butterworth in 173rd with Victoria Blincoe in 178th, Olivia Bailey 186th & Eleanor Winch 187th another partnership. But we must make special mention of Maria Eremionkhale from representing our sprint/throws group, who completed this s hard course without any specific training, & much appreciated by the watching crowd in 198th.
Under 17 Ladies – all three of our regulars turned out, Ellen Newark who hasn’t been as well as recently as she would hope finished a very fine 61st. Sarah Gates & Kattie Hyde ran well and battled for honours in 95th & 96th.
Under 17 Men, 8 runners here, even though they were hiding behind others at the start. They produced our best team result of the day. 6th . Billy Somygi 33rd and Tom Wright 35th great individual performances. Not that far back was Nick Armstrong 51st, Adam Willis 67th, Lewis Elsey 71st, Nikki Faulkner 116th, Joe Gunton 151st. Unfortunately Charlie Winch recently returned picked up another injury and landed up in the St John’s ambulance much to his disappointment. but well done lads, next year we should have even stronger teams in all the male divisions.
Under 20 men, Harry Faulkner was our only entry but ad a very good run in 88th, despite leaving the start without his timing tab but notably sporting a orange neck band?.
Senior Ladies, It took a lot for many of our young ladies to come down & put the club vest on for 8k on a gruelling course. But doing us proudly today was Dawn Saunders 197th, Juliette Hoareau 239thAnoushka Johnson 283rd, Dawn Dobberson 296th, Tracey Hunter 300th & Geraldine Legon 331st, with a final team position of 45th
Senior Men – 14k for us, which whilst in the main arena seemed fine, it was when you were out on the extra loops away from everyone that it became very hard work with two very long hills on stony paths and it got to me. But we could not fault the support we received from everyone at the club and others as we made our way around, Martin Jenner was first home in 396th, Tom Clench 408th, Colin Hyde 443rd, Luis Crane 522nd, Jon Hunter 547th, Glen Butler 563rd, Kevin Winch 669th, Richard Long 732nd. Many of the above would be chilling out (in more ways than one) in Brighton, team result was 62nd.
Getting back was fun, whilst the senior men were still racing, the tent and our other gear made its way back to the coach, by this time supporters for Brighton & Newcastle were arriving at the ground where we had parked. We did look like an orange ripple through a sea of blue – white & black. Fortunately our youngsters were exlemery and we all arrived safely back on the coach. We were hoping Billy Somgoyi might play us a few tunes on his guitar as he did on the way down.
Well done to everyone, those competing and our supporters, by any means our youngsters performed very well today and we looked like a quality club. New tent, banners and top ten team performances.
Next Kent league on the 11th Feb for the seniors only, then the highlight and completion with the Nationals at Parliament hill on the 25th– you’ve gotter be there?