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  • Noel Carmody

Weekly Update - 23rd Nov. 2022

London Cross Country Championships, Parliament Hill

Senior Men: Parliament Hill, the spiritual home of English cross-country running was at its most benign for this year's London Championships, reports Clem Dixon. The weather was pleasant, the ground mostly firm with just one place on each lap where you could get your feet wet, but the hills were as challenging as always.

In the men's competition, scoring is for teams of four, Chris Loudon, Tom Brooke, Bobby Babaker and John O'Mahony taking us to 8th place, our best showing since 2013 when we were second. Unfortunately, Christian Poulton and James Pitts are not shown in the official results due to an administrative error but are listed below.

We usually come away from these championships thinking: if you thought that was good wait until the new year when we will be back for either the Southerns or the Nationals, longer course, larger field, more mud. But this year with the North taking their turn to host the Nationals and the Southerns being back at Beckenham there was a feeling that the appetite had been whetted but not fully satisfied.

Dave Reader - Bobby Babaker - Tom Brooke

Results: 26 Chris Loudon 37:16, 47 Tom Brooke 38:.28, 62 Bobby Babaker 39:17, 87 John O'Mahony 40:19, 124 Geoff Smith 41:34, 195 David Reader 43:48, ??? Christian Poulton 44:12, 227 Tarbo Fukazawa 45:18, ??? James Pitts 45:45, 275 Robert Barns 47:26, 331 Richard Bennett 50:18, 361 Clem Dixon 52:12, 370 Richard Piggford 52:26, 381 David Hunter 53:50, 414 Paul Ford 59:23, 424 Peter Hadley 1.06.07.

Senior Women: I remember watching the start of a men’s National Cross Country race on Hampstead Heath, writes Rose Baker, feeling the ground shake as the men charged up the hill; and saying that it reminded me of a stampede of awesome speeding animals. In the London Cross Country championship on Saturday, I realised what animals they were – reindeer. Explanation later!

Despite my attempts to lose people, leaving not only Josie Philpot but Paul Ford behind at London Bridge, we had another good showing of the senior women’s team on Saturday. As Megan Marchant said, so many of us running in Cambridge blue was lovely to see. Talking of Megan, top ten finish, amazing, lovely to see you and we are all so proud of you.

Despite Angela Ford’s spikes not making the race, having remained in Paul’s care as he toured London, Angela calmly tightened the laces of her trainers and ran in those, well done Angela. Maria Macdonald claims to have loved the race, but I know there wasn’t as much mud as she likes – maybe next time. There is photographic evidence that Sue Dixon was enjoying it far too much, brilliant photos Holly Dixon and Glynis Penny. Avoiding driving up the A2 and therefore not being stuck in traffic like last week, Hayley Newman was super early for this race and photo-bombed some of Sue’s pictures. Sally Carr cheered son Liam to a strong first place finish at Bexley Parkrun earlier, and then made it to Parliament Hill in time to deliver her own strong performance. There was no confusion over whether Maggie Illingworth was eligible to run in London Championships (unlike the nightmare of Kent qualification), so she legitimately completed the race for us before cheering on the guys. Having been abandoned at London Bridge, Josie Philpot and Georgia Huddleston took directions from Hannah Araniello and hopped on the bus from Kentish Town. Like regular Cambridge Harriers star Katie Sanders, they found the rest of us in plenty of time for a team photo and all finished smiling and well up the field. Christine Lutsch, following up on her recent second place at Joydens Wood 5-mile race, kept Josie company with them finishing ten seconds apart.

Overall, the run was a lovely mix of surfaces, long and short grass, mud patches, woodchips, and a disproportionate number of tarmac paths to cross. Click, click, click went our spikes (except for Angela’s) over those paths. Which brings me back to reindeer. If you didn’t know, reindeer’s back feet click when they move, the noise is made by a tendon sliding over a bone (I hope it doesn’t hurt like dodgy Achilles) and helps them to know where each other are when the weather is horrible, and they need to keep their eyes closed. We sounded like a herd of blue reindeer clicking on the paths!

Lastly, I apologise unreservedly for my part in losing people and so glad you managed to get there.

Megan Marchant - Hayley Newman - Maria Macdonald

Results: 7 Megan Marchant 22:37, 28 Georgia Huddleston 24:12, Josie Philpot 25:38, 67 Christine Lutsch 25:47, 78 Katie Sanders 26:26, 87 Hannah Araniello 26:47, 99 Hayley Newman 27:17, 101 Susan Dixon 27:21, 157 Maggie Illingworth 30:21, 173 Rose baker 31:20, 179 Sally Carr 31:48, 203 Angela Ford 33:41, 226 Maria Macdonald 35:14.

Surrey Walking Club Open Track Walks, Tonbridge

The clubs' race walkers made the short trip down to Tonbridge for the Surrey Walking Club Open Track race at the excellent facilities at Tonbridge School, all racing over 5000m. Luc Legon stormed into the lead from the off and was never headed recording a season's best time of 21:54.8.

Hannah Hopper (U20) finished in fifth place overall and second woman in 26:38.9 also a season's best.

Mark Ashby made his debut over the 5000m distance crossing the line in 10th overall in 30:34.3 and establishing an inaugural M60 club record for the 5000m race walk.

Luc Legon - Hannah Hopper - Mark Ashby


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