Clear skies and a blustery wind greeted our 36 runners for this opening fixture of the new season. The athletes had a fine start to the season with two sets of gold medals, a silver and bronze plus four other teams in the top six. Overall it was an excellent turnout from other clubs across Essex. The course, around 3.2k, was fairly flat albeit a little soft in places following rain the previous week.
Firstly I want to sincerely thank the team managers who gave out numbers, chips and pins to the athletes, as well as sorting out the running order for the athletes. Big well done to Laura Millward, Lesley Maeda, Karen Adams, James Geller, Steve Cody plus Nick Sloan.
U13 Champs: Abigail, Emily and Rosemary (photo: Abigail Richards)
Under 13 Girls
All the age groups started together, which suited Abigail Reid. After 2k of the first leg who should be in the lead but Abigail - with two top Under 17 girls behind her. And over the final 1k around the lake she brought the Woodettes in 8 seconds up but 55 seconds clear of our arch rivals Chelmsford, with 12 mins 10 - the fastest Under 13 girl by some distance. Emily Caton took charge of leg 2 to increase the advantage over Chelmsford, running 13 mins 33 for her leg - the sixth fastest U13 girl on the day. Rosemary Kelly ran the glory leg to come in first some 1 mins 42 seconds ahead of Chelmsford in 13 mins 27 - the fifth fastest U13 of the day. In the next team, Emily Millward started the ball rolling for us. She was under the weather on the day so credit to her for running, as she got round in 15 mins 10. Amana Oguntuga made up some places with a good run of 13 minutes 57. On the final leg Molly Sherrin, on her 12th birthday, had an excellent run, bringing the team home in 5th place in 13 mins 18 - the 4th fastest U13 girl of the day. Our final team consisted of: Isabella Worwood, the Redbridge champion, who ran 15 mins 05; Molly Wain, who is now been coached for the javelin, who ran 16 mins 49; and Lexie Bonney 15 min 33, and the team placed 14th of the 19 teams that started.
Under 15 Girls
Bronze medallists: Larna, Kezia and Miya (photo: Allison Beeton)
Miya Maeda took charge of leg 1 to come home in the lead with a fine opening leg of 12 mins 43 - the 4th fastest time of the day for U15 girls. Larna Morgan, who had run a brilliant 10 mins 49 for 3000 metres in the summer, took on leg two and, although favourites Havering passed us, she hung onto 2nd place in great style running 13 minutes 53. Another bottom year athlete, Kezia Beeton, ran the last leg with Chelmsford in hot pursuit. Kezia ran brilliantly to record 12 mins 41 to be the 3rd fastest U15 on the day, but she had to give way to a storming run from Chelmsford’s Holly Watson as the Woodettes picked up bronze. The B team of Bronya Overington (14 mins 21), Olivia Howe (15 mins 46) and Mary Hardy did really well to place 13th of 23 starting teams.
Under 17 Ladies
What I will say about this team is what great team mates and friends they are. They train together and are great friends outside the sport. On the day itself they placed 5th of 12 starting teams - a fine performance indeed. Wren McLean, now at college, ran 13 mins 48 and this was followed by fine runs from Ellen Savidge (14 mins 17) and Jess Adams (14 mins 11 secs).
Under 17 Men
This was tipped to be a real battle between our boys and local club Ilford AC. The race lived up to its billing as Sidnie Ward - 8th fastest on the day - brought the Woodies home in 4th place in 11 minutes 03. Sidnie is now returning to the form that made him the fastest 800m boy in the UK in 2015. Taking over from Sidnie was Sam Sloan, who moved into 2nd spot with a fine 10 mins 52 - the 5th fastest of the day. On the last leg Ben Sloan took off yards ahead of Ilford's England International Aaron Samuel, with both lads quite a bit behind the Chelmsford runner. Going around the lake Ben took the lead with Samuel right behind him. With just 800 metres remaining, Samuel made his move to leave Ben 18 seconds adrift at the end with the lads running the two fastest laps of the day. A great race!
Under 13 Boys
We had two teams, with the lads being brilliantly managed by James Geller. James also had to deal with a late withdrawal of Harry Wood as a foot injury ruled him out of racing. The teams were great in that the first team, of Nate Harding (12 minutes 32), Godwinner Nkebani (13 mins 13) and Oscar Farthing Barbero (12 mins 41) were an excellent 5th from 24 starting teams, with the other team of Max Potts (13 mins 11) James Milne (13 mins 39) and Gregor Samson (13 mins 09) in 11th place. These lads are fairly new to cross country so it was an excellent display by all.#
Jacob, Jimmy and Danny: U15 Gold (photo: James Geller)
Under 15 Boys
With 16 teams starting out we were hopeful of a high placing although Southend and Havering were due to be involved in the scrap too.
South Of England U15 Boys 800 metre champion Danny Raymond started out for us and was only 10 seconds behind the first placed Under 17 runner in placing 2nd in 10 mins 58, with Maguire from Southend between us and the Chelmsford runner. Danny was 2nd fastest U15 on the day. Having raced on Thursday in our local schools race, Jacob Hardy moved swiftly past the Southend runner to take the lead with a run of 11 mins 29 seconds - the 4th fastest of the day. Jimmy Geller, who had also raced the previous Thursday, took the last leg to consolidate our lead with a fine 11 mins 21 seconds - the 3rd fastest of the day. Evan Johnson, who shattered the local parkrun junior record recently in Stortford, ran another fine race in 11 mins 44. Ben Savidge ran well for 12 mins 56, with hockey player Luca Gormley bringing the team into an excellent 6th place from 16 teams. Our other team of Reuben Fabian (13 mins 18), Chris Richardson (12 mins 43) and Sid Cody (12 mins 53) placed a sound 10th.
So a great overall showing from our athletes who now travel to Sutton Coldfield this Sunday for the National Road Relays.