A much healthier turn out from WGEL than in previous years due to there being no clash with the Met League this time round. However, we were without the service of key athletes such as Emily Caton (unwell), Nate Harding (scout camp), Jimmy Geller (recovering from appendicitis) and Nathan Wright (recovering from injury). Despite these athletes understandably not being able to run we had nineteen athletes on the start line across the four races.
The first day of ”real winter” saw a hard frost on the course prior to the races, although the sun shone now and then.
Bronze medallists: From l. to r.: Molly (3rd), Abigail (1st) and Rosemary (11th) (Photo: Craig Sherrin)
The Under 13 girls race over 3k saw over 50 starters set out and it was not long, despite an early fall, before Abigail Reid strode to the front. Abigail cruised to her sixth county title this year by easing through the line with 34 seconds to spare on the second runner. Molly Sherrin was 8th at the half way point but really got motoring on the second half of the course to come through to the bronze medal position with a storming finish. Rosemary Kelly was always in the leading twelve, and ran really well to place 11th. Spare a thought for Amana Oguntuga, who started but a leg injury sustained earlier in the season meant she couldn’t really get into her stride. But credit to her for finishing in 25th, with the fast-improving Isabella Worwood just one place behind in 26th. The girls came second in the team race, and will now look forward to the championship races after Xmas with confidence as we will have Emily Caton and Tilly Major (not eligible for Essex) back with us. Both Abigail and Molly were selected to run for Essex in March 2020 as a result of their positions today.
In the Under 13 boys race, with a slightly larger field of 60, we had four starters but missed Nate Harding, who was on a scout camp booked even before he knew about this race. Nate has just gone from strength to strength this season. Roared on by team manager James Geller, the boys gave their all with Oscar Farthing our first scorer in 17th, with Gregor Samson not too far back in 21st. Godwinner Nkembani was 32nd, and new lad Patrick Hayden was 48th. I will add that these lads are fine examples of great club runners who support each other. The boys ended up 5th team, which was a good result for them.
The Under 15 girls race was over 4K and there were around 50 starters. Kezia Beeton got away well and was always in the leading five to place a great 5th place to secure yet another county vest. Miya Maeda came through strongly in the latter stages to nab 7th place, which was a good run, but she again has to wait to see if she gets one of the two discretionary spots left open after the top six who selected on the day. Miya is having a fine season and deserves a county vest. Mary Hardy had a good run for 24th, and Bronya Overington, recovering from injury, was 31st. It was a great display from our Under 15 girls who were 5th on the day. After Xmas they will have the added services of Meisha Trend-Evans, a first class triathlete but not eligible to run in any Essex championships.
Reuben Fabian: had an excellent run and collected his team's bronze medals (Photo: Alistair Fabian)
The Under 15 boys race over the same distance saw six Woodies on the start line with 50 starters. After the initial rush three of our runners were seen in the leading group of eight, and at halfway the team race was between ourselves, Havering and Southend. Going into the second part of the course Southend and Havering gradually reduced their scores leaving us with the bronze medals in a very close team race. Having the race of his life, Reuben Fabian finished 7th and now must wait to see if he gets one of the two discretionary places to run for Essex next March. Reuben has clearly benefited from going to Trent Park every Sunday with coach Richard Thurston. Coach Alex Bird must also take credit, as he takes Reuben in the midweek sessions. Not too far behind Reuben were Jacob Hardy (10) and Danny Raymond (11), both running well. To close the team in, hockey starlet Luca Gormley placed 17th, and Sid Cody again showed fine form for 24th. Sid's aim next year is to try and get a top 8 placing in the Hertfordshire Schools and to make the English Schools. Ronan Edwards is another running well and he should also be pleased with 28th. Again, this was a fine showing from our lads.
In Geneva on Sunday over a hilly, cobbled course of 2,341 metres, Tilly Major, who was nursing a cold, had a fine run to secure a bronze medal in a time of 9 mins 10 seconds, an excellent performance indeed.