Greenwich Schools Championships, Avery Hill Park (Wed. 11th Oct.)
As part of the club’s on going program of promoting our sport in Schools we once again organised the annual Greenwich Schools Cross Country championships in Avery Hill Park, reports Mick Bond. This event along with the track and field competitions we run to encourage schools to get their students to try athletics whilst the competitions themselves is a great way for children to realise their talent. This year 13 schools took part and there was a total of 447 finishers across four races. Thanks to all the club members who helped with the organisation and officiating and especially James Macdonald who ran to the course, acted as hare for three out of the four races and then ran home!
Kent Cross Country League #1, Footscray Meadows (Sat. 14th Oct.)
The cross country season got off to a great start at the first Kent League meeting at Footscray Meadows. The sun shone, we had record breaking numbers of runners and among many fine performances there were three individual wins (Maria Macdonald, Erwan Rostan and Holly Dixon). This was our home fixture and everything seemed to go smoothly, a big thank you to all club members who helped with marshalling and the laying out of the course.
Under 20 Men: It was a victorious debut for Erwan Rostan (pictured - courtesy of Mark Hookway (TAC)) in the Kent League U20M race! writes Andy Knight. Erwan joined the club at the end of the summer season, so this was his first opportunity to compete in a Cambridge Harriers vest. As soon as the gun went Erwan took the lead and quite quickly had a gap of around 25 metres which he maintained for the first half of the race. He was then caught by a Blackheath runner who had broken away from a small chasing pack and for a while it looked like he might slip down the field. Digging deep, Erwan never allowed the gap to the leader to grow too big and with 150 metres to go he used his track speed to overhaul the leader for a convincing, but hard-won victory.
Senior Men: The senior men's race was preceded by a brief eulogy to Cambridge Harriers stalwart David Maynard who sadly died recently, writes Clem Dixon, it was delivered by outgoing club president Dean Lacy and was followed by a one minute applause. This was the biggest and best entry we had ever had for the senior men, the days of fretting over whether we would have enough runners to register in the twelve-to-score team competition were a distant memory as 35 of us assembled for the start (of whom 34 would finish, Steve Groom having to pull up with a calf strain). In addition to last season's regulars we welcomed back Liam McLaughlin after a break of four years and you have to go back ten years to find the last time that Shearer brothers Ben and Rob ran a cross country race for the club. Will Longhurst, Brett Baker and Alex Tringham were making their cross country debuts in Cambridge vests as were new members James Floyd, Jon Wilson and Hakim Mendjeli.
The objective this season is to consistently break into the top three after season upon season of perennial fourth places; this mission got off to a good start: our first finisher was Bobby Babaker translating his great summer road form to the country for 7th place, closely followed by Chris Loudon in 10th. With Ben Shearer overtaking James Macdonald in the closing stages for 17th and 19th places we had four in the top 20, easily good enough for third place, still some way behind Tonbridge and Medway & Maidstone but well clear of Blackheath & Bromley. Ben and James were also 2nd and 3rd in the M40 age group. It was the same story in the twelve-to-score, you only needed to go down as far as 72nd place to find James Pitts, our twelfth scorer, taking us to another third place. The first race of the season is always the best attended, there were 299 finishers this year. Let's hope that we at least can maintain our numbers at the next fixture: Tonbridge in two weeks time.
In the earlier 5k race for men over 70, we had two runners: Mick Ellsmore was 6th and Peter Hadley 11th.
Brett Baker - Chris Loudon - Bobby Babaker - James Macdonald - Ben Shearer
Young Age Groups: We had twenty of our young athletes in action for the first Kent League cross country fixture, writes Mark Newell. The highlight of the day came from Amelia Lawrence who placed third in the U17W race. She was in second position for most of the race, but relinquished this place within the last few hundred metres.
Sophia-Rose Bonnar had her best cross country race for the club so far with a fine 8th place in the U13G race. She was backed up by Seren Yeatman, Lizzie Sanders, Miya Cook and Daisy O'Brien who were all running their first cross country race for the club.
The U15G had the best team performance of the day with Celia Yeatman, Delilah Lester and Celia Allen leading the team to 3rd place. Isabel Brand and Meredith Cummins were the clubs other finishers, like many, making their debut cross country appearances for the club.
There was ten seconds separating our first two finishers in the U15B race with Josh Wellings getting the better of Olly Cook on this occasion. Like many others one the day, debutante Daniel Whitehouse, Kaden John and Joe White completed the team.
Alex Van Den Berg-How lead the U13B team home placing 14th. Newcomers Ayotunde Dauda, Brodie Baker, Oto Weir and Raif Mendjeli completed the team. Aidan Newton was our only competitor in the U17M, running strongly to take 10th place, just over a minute behind the U20 winner.
Amelia Lawrence (3rd U17W) - Holly Dixon (1st SENW)
Full Cambridge Harriers results are here
Annual General Meeting - Update
The Club’s Annual General Meeting was held at the clubhouse last Friday (13th Oct.) and amongst other items Lisa Atkinson was sworn in as club president for the next year.