Sorry there have been no reports for a while, so this is a round up of all the cross country races since the New Year.

On 4th January there were the Kent Champs at Brands Hatch. Our numbers in the younger age groups were fairly low. There was a biting wind which finally finished our tent off. Our U20 men were 3rd team so won team medals.

Unfortunately we didn’t have any U13 girls, we did have our new rising star in the U13 boys Alex Ogilwy, despite being sick twice before the race he ran very well to finish 10th. We had four girls in the U15 girls all complaining of their lack of training over Christmas, Jessie Sargeant finished 36th, Molly Bishop 38, Laurel Broughton 45 and Maya Broughton 46. They were 8th team. Two U15 boys Luke Harry who finished 44th and Jared Johnson 59th. One of our best races of the day was the U17 and U20 men. There was a great performance from Jalen Pople who finished 11th which was his best race so far this season. Alfie Green was also running in this race and finished 34th. In the U20’s men’s race Ted Higgins finished 8th, brother Jack 11th and Regan Thomas 18th. They finished 3rd team so all won bronze county medals.

The senior men’s race was before the senior women in this fixture. As in the other age groups we had a few of our regular runners missing but still finished 8th team in the 6 to score team event. Joe O’Hara was our first runner in 45th place, followed by Simon Wells in 68th, Jamie Higgins 78th, Damilore Adewale, who forgot to bring his spikes, 82nd, Martin Smith 90th, Jon Fish 119, Martin Jenner 167, Kevin Winch 188, Chris Gosden 195 and Dave Winfield 196, we had 10 finishers so unfortunately didn’t score a team in the 12 to score. Unfortunately our consistent cross country performer this season Paul Collier was unable to finish as he had a calf problem and had to drop out.

The final race of the day was the senior women’s race and we had good numbers in this race. Phoebe Cooper was our first runner in 46th place, next was Kirsty McEwan in 67th, Angela Duffy Smart 96th, Paula Cooper 110th, Sarah Dodds 114th and Geraldine Legon 116. The women finished 12th team in the 3 to score team event and 6th in the 6 to score team event.

Simon Wells featured well in the two Cambridge Harriers cross country races over Christmas and New Year, he was 4th in the 7 ½ mile one at the end of December and 3rd in the 10 mile one on the 11th January.

The Kent Schools Cross Country was on Jan 18th, good performances here from the Bexley junior boys who finished 6th team with Alex Ogilwy, Oliver Knight and Luke Harry all running well. Jude Linstrom and Jared Johnson were also in this race. In the senior boys Ted Higgins secured a place in the Kent team for the English schools by finishing 4th, brother Jack wasn’t too far behind in 7th.

Next race on January 25th was the South of England cross country championships, our numbers were few, Parliament Hill was at its toughest best, plenty of hills and mud. First race today was the U15 boys and we had 3 running, Luke Harry 203rd, Oliver Knight 208th and Jared Johnson in 310th. U15 girls another 3 runners Laurel Broughton 251st, Mollie Bishop 272nd and Maya Broughton 278th. In the U13 girls unfortunately Rosie Chandler dropped out soon after the first hill, we did have one finisher Sophie Ansell in 279th. In the U13 boys we had Alex Ogilwy who finished 108th. Our only other junior runner was Alfie Green in the U17 boys and he finished 196th. So to the Seniors first were the senior women and we had 3 runners Kirsty McEwan who finished 357, next Angela Duffy Smart in 537 and Sarah Dodds in 666, Sarah wrote on facebook afterwards that it was the toughest race she had ever done. Two of our men endured the 9 miles for the senior men, Simon Wells who has been running well but found this pretty tough and he finished 629th, Tan Troung who was also doing the Canterbury 10 the next day finished 1112. Kevin Winch was unable to run after feeling the effects of a bike accident the previous weekend.

The next Cross Country was the final Kent League of the season at Norman Park Bromley on February 8th. This was just for senior women and senior men. We had a good turnout of Bexley runners in both races. First race was the women and it was good to see orange vests close to the front. Both Alice Burnhope and Beth Armstrong were right up there in the early stages. In the end Alice finished 7th and Beth 13th, Kirsty McEwan wasn’t too far behind in 36th, next was Victoria Butterworth in 62nd, Angela Duffy Smart 70th, Rebecca Miah 75th, Paula Cooper 104th, Chris Pates 107th and Geraldine Legon 114th. Bexley were 2nd team in the 3 to score and 4th in the 6 to score team event so great team performances.

Our senior mens team was strengthened by our 20 star performers Ted and Jack Higgins being able to run in the senior mens race. And they didn’t disappoint. They were both high up the field in the early stages and Ted running for the first time in the senior race finished 11th which was a great performance. Jack was a little further behind in 21st and their training partner Mitchell Horne had another good cross country run finishing 22nd. Tom Wright was next in 28th so four to score runners in the first 28. Next was Joe O’Hara in 36th, Simon Wells 55th, Damilore Adewale 60th, Jamie Higgins 69th, then Jon Hunter 185, Tan Truong 204, Martin Smith who started late and did well to still finish 206th, Brian Crane 208, Kevin Winch 217 and Dave Winfield 222nd. In the senior men’s team with 4 to score we finished 4th and the same in 12 to score overall for the whole of the league over the season Bexley were 5th in both the 4 to score and 12 to score team events. In the senior womens team over the season we finished 8th in both the 3 to score and 6 to score. So some good team performances.

The National cross country this year took place at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham a lovely venue but conditions were tough and it was particularly muddy with much surface water to run through and even obstacles to negotiate. We just had senior women and senior men running and one U20 man. We had 6 women finishers so scored a team, Victoria Croucher had a great run finishing 206th a good performance as she has not run much over this winter. Our next finisher was Kirsty McEwan in 567th, then Victoria Butterworth in 600th, Angela Duffy Smart 745th, Sarah Dodds 870th and Geraldine Legon 904th, they were 64th team out of 99 scoring teams. Our U20 man Regan Thomas finished 158th in his race. The final race was the senior men and we had 4 runners, Simon Wells had a solid run finishing 635th, not bad after he Kirsty and Tan had all done the Nottingham park run in the morning. Tan Truong finished 1608th, Kevin Winch 1643rd and Dave Winfield 1693rd.

So the cross country season is almost over for 2019/20, Ted Higgins still has the English schools cross country next weekend so hope he does well there. He has had a particularly good season. There are discussions going on about whether to assimilate the men’s and women’s race distances in next years Kent League so that should be an interesting one. Thanks again to Kevin for organising our teams and doing all the entries. We were certainly stronger this year in the senior mens and womens events, some additional strength in the younger age groups would be good for the next cross country season.

See you in October for the new cross country season.

Richard Long
March 2020