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  • Noel Carmody

Weekly Update - 16th Nov. 2022

British & Irish Masters Cross-Country International, Dublin

The British and Irish International Masters’ Cross Country comprises female and male teams from England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Each country hosts the event on a five-year rotational basis, with the Republic of Ireland hosting this year at Santry Park, Dublin. The park provides an ideal course for cross country and though it was very windy, the weather was mild and dry, so the underfoot conditions were perfect for running.

Chris Loudon (M35) raced for Scotland and crossed the line 25th overall in the combined M35, M40 & M45 race and 15th M35 with a time of 27:26 (9.8k).

British Cross Challenge and Home Countries International, Milton Keynes

The second of the British Athletics Cross Challenge took place at Teardrop Lakes in Milton Keynes on Saturday. Fast racing was the order of the day as athletes made the most of the hard ground on an unseasonably mild day. In a high-class field Holly Dixon finished in 21st place with a time of 26:12 for the 7,200m course.

Kent Cross Country League, Danson Park

Something over 1500 years ago, the Anglo-Saxons sailed over to Kent from mainland Europe and took on the ancient Britons at the Battle of Crayford, writes Rose Baker. The Britons were conclusively defeated and abandoned Kent altogether, retreating west. Lots of the Anglo-Saxon invaders stayed around, and one of them, Denesige, set up farming beside the tiny stream which still flows through Danson Park. The name of the area was simplified from “Denesige’s land” to “Danson” over centuries. Apparently in Anglo-Saxon this translates into “the farm of the people in the little valley where the sun sets”.

Fast forward 1565 years. Cambridge Harriers senior (but nonancient) ladies took a team of 11 to defend the scene of many a Cambridge Harriers victory at Bexley Parkrun. First up was the W65+ race. Maria Macdonald and Stephanie Dungate did us proud; Maria is currently second in the overall W65+ league, and we are the only club in the entire Kent League to have fielded three runners so far across this age group, so really well done all three of you!

Next the senior women – second year of women plodding round the full 8km course, which is unkindly “long” and well over 8km. That “little valley” of Denesige’s felt like an increasingly steep hill by the third lap but luckily, we all finished running before it set even though we started a little late as some runners, including at least one Cambridge Harrier, were stuck in traffic (I am guessing the Anglo-Saxons didn’t come up the A2, or they might never have made it as far as Crayford, and who knows what Danson Park would be called).

Scoring for the “team of 3” were strong performances from Georgia Huddleston, Julie Backley and Josie Philpot. We were third team of three on the day and this maintains our overall league position. In the team of six competition, we were narrowly beaten into 4th place, just three points behind Beckenham. As last scorer, behind Cara Oliver (so good to have you back this season, Cara), and Maria Hjorth on her Cambridge Harriers debut. I felt the guilt of Parkrun earlier, could I have finished in front of another three people if I hadn’t already run? But you all know I’m always going to do Parkrun. We did comfortably maintain our 3rd place ranking in the overall league results for “team of 6”. Also finishing strongly and smiling were Lynnette Boston, also on a debut for Cambridge as a second claim club member, Donna Martin, increasing speed every month after baby, and Angela Ford – love the new spikes Angela, and good to see you as a cross country regular.

Top: Julie Backley - Josie Philpot - Cara Oliver

Lower: Rose Baker - Donna Martin - Angela Ford

The support was fantastic – thank you to Maryse Ford, Glynis Penny and all the other assorted family and other Cambridge Harriers for coming to cheer and heckle and take pictures. It’s not just scoring, we do the league to be part of a team, to have fun, or to get stronger (for park run). It’s so exciting when we have 20 or more runners (there are 42 of us on the WhatsApp group (excluding our “ringer” Peter) so it should be possible. Just one fixture to go now – everyone keep 11 Feb. 2023 free for Bromley (old English meaning – the place where brambles are found, so I hope they have all been cleared)!

In the younger age group races the under 13 girls' team and the under 15 boys' team were depleted due to an English Schools match taking place on the same day, reports Mark Newell. First race of the day saw Delilah Lester and Sophia-Rose Bonnar finishing within 13 second of each other in 12th and 15th respectively.

Alex van den Berg put in his best performance of the season when placing 8th from a field of 66. Barney Hart made his debut for the club when finishing in 53rd place.

Iris Williams continued her record of finishing in the top 10 with an 8th place finish. It was nice to see that Iris had some company from the club with Sophia Pawa tuning out to finish 27th.

Sophia Pawa - Alina Pape

Josh Wellings and Aniket Iyengar both put in good performances in the under 15 boys' race, finishing in 13th and 17th place respectively. Amelia Lawrence and Eva Armitage-Woods were joined by Alina Pape in the under 17 women's race. This was Alina's first cross country race for the club.

As usual, Aidan Newton was the clubs only representative in the under 17 men's race, finishing 22nd from 43 runners.

Joshua Wellings - Aniket Iyengar - Aidan Newton


Senior Women (8200m): 6 Georgia Huddleston 33:52, 14 Julie Backley (W50) 35:12, 19 Josephine Philpot 36:11, 40 Cara Oliver (W45) 38:10, 57 Maria Hjorth (W55) 40:17, 74 Rose Baker (W55) 41:50, 76 Lynnette Boston (W50) 42:09, 97 Donna Martin (W35) 45:19, 98 Angela Ford (W50) 45:39.

W65+ (5250m): 2 Maria Macdonald (W70) 30:15, 6 Stephanie Dungate (W65) 35:33.

M70+ (5250m): 3 Michael Ellsmore (M70) 27:10, 5 Keith Dungate (M70) 28:54, 7 Peter Hadley 29:59.

YAG Boys: U17 (5250) 13 Aidan Newton 19:36; U15 (4200m): 13 Joshua Wellings 16:08, 17 Aniket Iyengar 16:35; U13 (3100m): 8 Alex van den Berg 12.10, 53 Barnaby Hart 14:40.

YAG Girls: U17 (5250m): 8 Amelia Lawrence 22:55, 18 Eva Armitage-Woods 25:37, 32 Alina Pape 30:29; U15 (4200m): 8 Iris WIlliams 17:03, 27 Sophia-Rose Pawa 20:22; U13 (3100m): 12 Delilah Lester 13:14, 15 Sophia-Rose Bonnar 13:27.

The Roaches Fell Race (15 miles, 3700 feet ascent, Cat. BL)

A great race in the Peak District. You start from the village of Meerbrook and run up to the Southern end of The Roaches - the name given to a ridge crenellated with interesting geological features (or "rocks" as I like to call them), writes Clem Dixon. Run the full length of the ridge then continue Northwards descending through a forest to the floor of a steep valley. Wade the knee-deep river and then climb up the other side, back onto open moorland where Shutlingsloe dominates the skyline. The Peak District is something of a misnomer, most of its hills are long ridges or broad plateaus but this hill is decidedly pointy. Slog your way up to the top, let the summit marshal witness you tapping the trig point and then it's back to Meerbrook, more or less the way you came.

Regular readers will be familiar with my bemoaning the reluctance of some to take to the fells, sometimes that reluctance is understandable, but this race should not be too far outside the comfort zone of most: there is nothing scary about the terrain; there is no possibility of getting lost, nor of agonising over the optimum route choice; and the there is no need to build up a portfolio of qualifying races, nor to hover over a computer at midnight to make sure that you get a place; just rock up on the day, hand over a fiver and off you go!

76th Clem Dixon 3:07:45 (2nd M60)


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