Once again Brands Hatch hosted the Kent cross country championships. This is a bleak place at the best of times and in the weather that we were treated to on Saturday it could be described as attritional. Those that have never been may be conjuring up an image of a cosy race track with sheltered stands and a variety of refreshment outlets; but no, we use the same car parking as the circuit but the cross country takes place on a disused aerodrome some distance from it. So we were all massively grateful to spot the club tent as we trudged towards the course in the wind, rain and mud.
Silver and Bronze for the Senior Women's Team
The news that over half the senior women entrants for the Kent Championship had Covid over Christmas and New Year was to say the least a bit of a blow. We had high hopes of doing well after our results in the Kent League/ Inter Counties and now it looked as if we would not even be able to raise a team of six as the bad news kept on coming in right up to race day. So it was a relief to see six fit women warming up in the strong wind and torrential downpour at Brands Hatch on Saturday. They all knew that however awful it got out there they had to finish. What a fantastic job they did earning team silver in the six to score and bronze in the three to score! A very well deserved reward in the truly vile conditions.
The first runner over the line in eighth place was Lara Atkinson who was making a welcome return to the team from university. Her recent move across to triathlon had clearly given her a lot of the strength needed to maintain a swift pace in muddy conditions. Next in 18th was Katie Sanders who has been putting in a series of impressive performances in both the Kent League and the Kent Masters. Packing well behind her were Julie Backley and Lucy Marlow in 21st and 22nd. Next was Emily Meins (35th) who was making her first appearance in a couple seasons for the squad after some good times on the road. The team was brought home by Hayley Newman (51st) who not only said she enjoyed the whole thing but who had finally won the tussle with another runner on the bend of the last uphill stretch. That proved crucial as the ladies took silver in the team of six by just one point. The determination of the last runner to qualify a team is always important!
... and after!
8th 36:17 Lara Atkinson
18th 38:02 Katie Sanders
21st 38:47 Julie Backley
22nd 39:15 Lucy Marlow
35th 40:44 Emily Meins
51st 42:24 Hayley Newman
Young Athletes - Silver for Iris Williams
In very unpleasant conditions our young athletes acquitted themselves well in the Kent County Cross Country Championships.
Iris Williams got things off to a good start, placing 2nd in the under 13 girls race over 3050 m's, in a time of 12:11. Only 19 seconds separated our other three under 13 girls. Celia Allen took 30th place (14:09) followed by Sophia Pawa (34th, 14:23) and Celia Yeatman (36th, 14:28).
Over the same distance Joshua Wellings, under 13 boys, claimed 8th place (11:52). Aniket Iyengar produced his best race of the season placing 22nd (12:38). Oliver Cook (48th, 13:44) and Oliver Hill (71st, 15:36) completed the team.
Amelia Lawrence was our first finisher for our under 15 girls over 4400m's placing 14th in a time of 19:29. Mia Harris and Abigail Richards in 37th and 40th positions completed the team.
Sam Scrase-Field had a good run in the under 15 boys race when finishing 20th (18:05). Sam Holloway came home in 31st position followed by Luke Bridges, 34th and Felix Tynan, 35th.
Evie Ravenscroft was our only competitor in the under 17 women's race over a distance of 6100 m's. Running with a slight injury Evie did well to complete the course in 22nd place in a respectable time of 29:14.
Senior Men - 5th again
As with the senior women the three senior men who would have been our top three finishers, on paper at least, were unable to compete. There were some great performances though; James MacDonald and David Worden were our first two finishers followed by a strong group in their first season for the club (Jordan Leblanc, John O'Mahony, Ben Rew, Tom Brooke, Clinton Lowe, Andy Doyle). Special mention too to longstanding member Mark Penny whose change from working shifts to something closer to nine-to-five has meant that he has hardly missed a race this season. Team scoring in this one is for 6 and 12 and we were 5th in both, the standard at the Champs is noticeably higher than in the Kent League: Kent AC who compete in the Surrey League turn out in force and various others come out of the woodwork.
28th 46:55 James MacDonald
45th 48:33 David Worden
51st 49:14 Jordan Leblanc
58th 49:47 John O'Mahony
68th 50:28 Ben Rew
73th 50:53 Tom Brooke
85th 52:11 Mark Penny
87th 52:23 Clinton Lowe
89th 52:30 Andrew Doyle
101st 53:28 Christian Poulton
112th 54:34 Graham Maynard
121st 55:10 Tarbo Fukazawa
143th 57:44 Peter St Amour
181st 64:48 Clem Dixon
James and Jordan starting at the front, the rest of us in the background
Ben leading from John and Tarbo