An excellent day's racing in the Essex Vets CC Championship at Hainault Forest saw Alan Rugg and Bernie Pritchett win individual bronze medals, while a very strong men's M50 squad won both team gold and team bronze.The 2 races (first, M50, M60 & M70 along with W35, W45 and W55; then M40) were run on a course most of which was new even to local runners of many years' experience, and which most judged to have been very enjoyable - being run almost entirely in the forest - and an excellent test. After an initial half-mile of boggy terrain, the 2 lap circuit dropped down a long, firm, serpentining trail before crossing a brook and rising up to the top again in 2 stages and winding through flattish forest back to the start.
The conditions were windy but dry with parts of the course a little muddy after recent rain.
In the Under 13 girls we had only one runner, however Amelia Barrett performed brilliantly in placing 2nd in 14 mins 25 secs, just failing to catch the winner Rebecca Killip who had won the first two races. Rebecca was just 10 yards up in 14 mins 22 secs.
We did however field two guest runners, Sky Mullvey 11 years old, placing a fine 13th in 16 mins 18 secs and Alicia McArdell 20th in 17 mins 59 secs. It is hoped these two will join WG&EL in the weeks to come. Great credit should go to Amelia who helped the girls warm up and helped them both at the finish.
In the Under 13 boys race Daniel Rowden had a fine run to place 6th over the same course, his time being 13 mins 53 secs, just half a minute behind the winner. Perry Rowan ran well to place 17th in 14 mins 16 secs in his first outing for the club.
Woodford placed 5th in both these age groups.
In the Under 15/17 combined race for boys Liam Blaikie produced another excellent performance amongst strong opposition, placing 4th in 14 mins 29secs, just 25 secs behind the winner Grant from Shaftesbury Barnet. James Stockings maintained his excellent form this winter with a fine 11th in 14 mins 49 secs. Ryan Dunne, having been unwell the previous weekend, rallied well to place a gutsy 28th in 15 mins 42 secs. Sam Benge, in his first outing for Woodford, was 43rd in 16 mins 43 secs. Sean Kenny placed 49th in 17 mins 16 secs and Sam Robinson 60th in 20 mins 27. Woodford placed 5th in this age group.
In the Under 15/17 Women's race over the same distance as the boys, Claudia Conway had a very good run over the country to place 9th in 17 mins 59 secs. The ever reliable Georgina Ferrari (12th in 18 mins 10 secs) and Amy Doyle (15th in 18 mins 13 secs) were hot on Claudia's heels. With Holly Bedeau also running well to place 17th in 18 mins 42 secs the club had a fine placing of 2nd in this age group. Lauren Freeman had her best placing with 28th in 20 mins 8 secs and a very welcome return of Joanne Cywinski 30th in 20 mins 30 secs with Stephanie Smith reliable as ever 31st in 20 mins 38 secs.
All in all a good day with our youngsters and I (John Stowe) would like to thank Paul Stockings and Don Blackett in helping me out on the day
Update: on Tuesday Jess Sparke was named in a strong GB U23 Women's team to compete in the European CC Championships.
A number of our athletes featured in the European CC Trials race at Liverpool on Saturday. 21-year old Jess Sparke ran the best race of her career to date to finish a marvellous 3rd overall in the Senior Women/U23 Women's race, which apparently leaves her with the option of running either for the Seniors or the U23s in the European CC Championships in Dublin on 13th December.
While the club's top U23 women were in Liverpool racing in the European CCTrials, the rest of the squad took a major step towards clinching their first-ever London City Runner Metropolitan CC League title at Wormwood Scrubs on Saturday.
With Linda Jackson the first of 6 women in 21, and Highgate a little weak on the day, the team now has a good buffer of 103 points at the top of the league.
With Serpentine whittling away much of our men's league lead, the team still goes into the Christmas break with their noses in front of the central London outfit as Shaftesbury's challenge appears to have faded. Hywel Care's 3rd place was the stand-out performance.Results