For many years this winter Championship was a local one for us, alternating between Claybury and Hainault. Gradually it has moved eastwards, this time in the beautiful surroundings of Writtle University College which, if the rows of greenhouses, terracotta pots and tended gardens were anything to go by, specialises in agriculture. Always a popular fixture, it seemed busier this year. Doubtless the number of races being held on the day beginning with U13 and U15 boys and girls. The unbroken sunshine and clear blue sky helped.
A crisp bright November morning saw a good turnout of WGEL young athletes to the Essex Champs at the agricultural college in Writtle. Whilst warming up the chat was all about the bright morning and seemingly dry underfoot conditions hiding some quite slippery and difficult parts of the challenging course.
With club CC championship medals on offer, as well as Essex vests and team championships, everything was set for an exciting morning.
Seven Under 11 athletes with their parents made the long trip to Sefton Park, Liverpool, where misty skies and freezing conditions greeted our runners where the ground in many parts was frozen.
Our M55 team of Alun Evans, Richard Holland, Dave Cox and Tony Pamphilon took the silver medal in the British Masters CC Relay at Long Eaton, Derbyshire, on Saturday. This was another in a long line of honours at regional and national level in vets/masters events which began in the late 1990s. Since then, Holland and Pamphilon have been pretty much ever-presents, while Cox, though missing out on those early years through injury, has been a rock in more recent years. Evans has come in even more recently and has done a fantastic job. (And NB: Cox and Pamphilon are both Life Members of WGEL).
Even on the morning of the race there were still fitness doubts hanging over three of our men, but nobody cried off and everyone was determined to give it a bash, with at least one eye on potential medals.