Met 2019-20 Race 4: Women and Men


Move over Dry January and Veganuary and make some room for Quaganuary; for there was only ever going to be one dominating set of conditions at Ally Pally on Saturday and the mud did not disappoint. However it didn’t stop hundreds of athletes, including over two hundred senior women, fresh from the first week back after the Christmas break, from tying a third knot in their spikes, one for every lap of this legendary course they would be tackling on this equalised route. The course notes may have omitted the H word, but there was no mistaking The Hill’s looming presence on that squelching start line.

Pete Caton Met 4 2020

Track man Pete Caton negotiates the mud the others left behind (pic: Sam Royle)


Met League 4 2019-20: U11s

The surprisingly mild conditions could not hide the evidence left behind by the heavy rains of recent weeks, with a muddy quagmire of a course awaiting our young athletes at Alexandra Palace in the fourth Met league fixture of the season. Alexandra Palace is a spectacular setting for cross country racing. Team WGEL set up camp on top of a hill overlooking the grassy, open fields below. This provided an ideal viewing point and the noise from our supporters in camp was to play a huge part in helping encourage our athletes in the tough muddy conditions.

The U11 race excludes the main hill at Alexandra Palace, but the long, grassy and now muddy stretches of the lower fields make it a deceptively tough course. The wet conditions underfoot were going to grind the momentum out of even the fastest legs. This was going to call for calm heads, sensible pacing and good, old-fashioned grit and determination. The athletes that could master this would put their team in a very strong position. Could our WGEL athletes do it?!

U11 Boys Met 4 2020 Paul Hancock

The big pack of Woodford U11 boys departs the start line (pic: Paul Hancock)


Essex CC: Young Athletes, etc

With many schools still on holidays it was a small squad of five junior athletes from Woodford Green with Essex Ladies that made the trip to Gloucester Park, Basildon for the Essex Cross Country Championships. It was a cold dry day. Course maps told us the course planner had made good use of the large hill feature in the park, creating a course with three steep ascents and corresponding descents. It would be challenging as befits a county championship course.

The under 17 race was first. WGEL had just one representative in the women's race, Jessica Adams who was running in her first county championship as a bottom year. Jessica rose to the challenge superbly finishing 15th in just under 23 minutes on a tough 5k course highlighting the rapid improvement she has made this season.

Herts CC: Young Athletes

Grey skies and a drizzle were the order of the morning at Stevenage where we had twelve young athletes toe the line on a fairly flat course that was a bit boggy in places, which ensured a good test for our youngsters' first race of 2020.

Annabel Reid Daisy McDonald Herts CCIn the Under 11 girls race we had three Woodettes out in force. First home was a brilliant run from Daisy McDonald (right in the photo by Adele McDonald) who, though only a year 5 girl, was in the leading bunch of girls throughout the race. Daisy celebrated her 10th birthday by placing a great 7th - by far her best performance to date. Chasing Daisy all the way was Jasmine Caras, a year 6 girl who pushed hard all the way for 10th spot. Annabel Reid (left in the photo), also a year 5 whom we will see her at her best on the shorter races in the summer, did really well for 22nd place. The team race could not have been closer, with 6 points covering 2nd to 5th, and we were the unlucky ones to place 5th. This was a great experience for the girls as they will all be competing for their schools in Hertfordshire Schools CC next month.

In the Under 11 boys we had four Woodies out battling in the mud. Rudy Parker-Bayes led the team home in 11th spot. Again, Rudy is only a year 5 lad, and against top opposition he ran really well. Henry Bailey (27th), Josh Parry (32nd) and Dom Parry (33rd) gave their all and should feel proud of themselves for supporting the club once again in bleak conditions. In the team race the boys placed 6th.

The Under 13 girls race over 3k saw Tilly Major and Lexie Bonney in action. Though not liking the flat course, Tilly competed in magnificent style by placing 2nd to Phoebe Gill who set an age record last summer with 4 minutes 32 seconds for 1500 metres. Tilly should feel proud that she was only 17 seconds down on Phoebe in the end. What was also nice was the two girls exchanging their well dones to each other whilst smiling and laughing. It was great to see. Lexie, who trains in Harlow, ran really well for 22nd.

In the Under 15 girls we had triathlete Meisha Trend-Evans in action. Meisha is a top triathlete who hopes to make it to the top level in that event. A bottom year Under 15 girl, Meisha placed an excellent 11th, which makes her a reserve for the CAU Inter Counties.

In the boys race combined with the girls, Evan Johnson, like Meisha is a bottom year under 15. Evan had been out before Christmas with a leg injury but proved he is on his way back with a solid 7th place, which will get him selection for March's Inter Counties.

Sam Sloan was our sole runner in the Under 17 men’s race, and he too mastered the mud in the early stages as five athletes broke away. Sam held his 5th position in great style to come home just 36 seconds behind the winner, a fine performance which will give him  another Hertfordshire vest.

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