- Noel Carmody
Weekly Update - 30th Nov. 2022
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Kent Cross Country League, Footscray Meadows
The senior men had another 20+ turnout at the Kent League fixture at Footscray Meadows, reports Clem Dixon. Our first four finishers were the same four as at Parliament Hill a week earlier, and in the same order, Chris Loudon (10th), Tom Brooke (16), Bobby Babaker (30) and John O'Mahony (38) earning us fourth in the four to score, but with just one fixture to go our league position is still third. Those four were well backed up by new member Arthur Roux (40) running for us for the first time, by Geoff Smith (49) and Ross May (59) both in their first season with us, and by Duncan Hope (61), his first cross country this season. But you then needed to go down as far as 117th to find Ray Ramsey, our 12th scorer, celebrating his 35th birthday. To be fair Ray did win the Danson parkrun earlier that day; that's how you celebrate a birthday! So, it was yet another fourth place for the twelve to score team.
Chris Loudon - Tom Brooke - Duncan Hope - Ray Ramsay - Arthur Roux
Who else deserves a mention? It was good to see Jerry Carnell running for us for the first time in three years, and Peter St-Amour, Pat Austin and Roderick Cookey-Bresi were also making their first appearances of the season. The rules of the League allow those that are 17, 18 or 19 to choose whether to run in the under 20 race or in the senior men's race. Liam Carr, at the age of just 17, chose the latter, and it is probably fair to say that he did not find the step up easy at first. But to his credit he has stuck at it and here had easily his best run of the season to date for 145th place, as he gains strength and experience there will surely be more improvements to come.
Liam Carr - Ross May
In the earlier race for the over 70's men, we had two runners: Keith Dungate and Peter Hadley finishing 4th and 6th. This was the final race of the season for that age category and so is where the final places in the league table were decided, and 4th and 6th is also where Keith and Peter finished.
This was our home fixture: the way that the League works is that although the Kent County Athletics Association provides the officials and timekeeping, they expect a host club to negotiate the use of a venue, design and mark the course, provide marshals etc. I am pleased to say that we are one of the five clubs that regularly host a fixture, whereas some of the other large clubs could be accused of being freeloaders. After a few hiccups in earlier years this event went off perfectly, Phil Pape's design and marking of the course earned many plaudits, as did Graham Maynard's excellent maps (with no one seeming to notice the discrepancies between the two!). None of this would have been possible without our enthusiastic and efficient volunteer marshals; thank you to all of them!
Left: Paul Ford - Clem Dixon - Jerry Carnell - Roderick Cookey-Bresi
Right: Christian Poulton - Robert Barns (557) - Chris Hovenden (989)
So, what of the course? I may be biased but I would say that it is now the second best in Kent. Phil may not have the natural features of Somerhill School to work with, but he does extract the most out of what is available, and the iconic avenue of trees may seem flat until you try running along it! An avenue of trees in a meadow? Well, Footscray Meadows is actually something of a misnomer, although the area either side of the river Cray is meadow-like most of the area we run in is the remains of the formal grounds of Foots Cray Place, a neo-Palladian mansion. Neo-Palladian? Has he swallowed a dictionary? Well, since Rose took over as women's team manager her race reports have included lessons in Anglo-Saxon history and the communication habits of reindeer, so I have decided that I need to up my game. In 18th century England it was fashionable to build in the style of the 16th century Italian architect Palladio. Foots Cray Place was based on a villa built some 150 years earlier near Vicenza (between Verona and Venice). The original still stands but the copy burnt down in 1949. Those that live in grand country houses need something grand to see when they look out of the window, hence the avenue of trees stretching from the site of the house towards the river. I wonder what the said occupants would have made of the sight of us lot running up their avenue. We would probably have been shot.
Another feature of the course was the steep bank that you ascend and then almost immediately descend again, this is actually an artificial mound on which the manor house was built. It was here that we positioned marshal David Reader, with a brief to ensure that no one took the tempting option of running along the bottom of the mound rather than up and down it. After the final race David was helping dismantle the finish funnel and I can only assume that he had his chipped number in his bag and that it triggered the sensor as he appears in the official results, quite comfortably in last place. I have tried to have this corrected but to date without success. That will look good on his Power of 10!
In the younger age group races Celia Yeatman had her best run of the cross-country season when placing 8th in the under 13 girls' race, reports Mark Newell. Delilah Lester was next to finish in 15th place followed by Celia Allen and Sophia Rose-Bonnar, 19th and 20th respectively with only two seconds between them. Once again, the team finished third overall in the team competition.
The under 13 boys' race has had the biggest field of runners of the four races. Sixty-nine completed the course on Saturday which made the finish places of Alex van den Berg and Monty Brown all the more respectable (11th and 14th respectively). In the final standings after the four matches, Alex placed fifth overall.
Iris Williams was another of our young athletes that put in her best performance so far. She was in with the lead pack of four throughout the race and was only 20 seconds behind the winner when coming home in fourth place. Sophia Pawa was our other finisher in this age group, placing 29th from a field of thirty-nine.
Sam Scrase-Field battled for first place in the under 15 boys' race, but had to eventually settle for second. Olly Buck in 7th and Sam Holloway, in his first race of the season in 15th, made sure the team finished in second. Felix Tynan and Aniket Iyengar were our final finishers in 17th and 24th place respectively.
Amelia Lawrence had a good race in the under 17 women's race, finishing 7th. In the overall standings she placed fourth. Evie Ravenscroft was our only other finisher in this race. Alina Pape started the race but unfortunately had to drop out with a hamstring injury.
Under 13 Girls Team
Senior Men (8000m):10 Chris Loudon 28:51, 16 Tom Brooke 29:12, 30 Bobby Babaker 30:15, 38 John O'Mahony 30:48, 40 Arthur Roux 30:56, 49 Geoff Smith 31:36, 59 Ross May 32:24, 61 Duncan Hope 32:31, 85 James Pitts 33:34, 90 Chris Hovenden 33:53, 94 Christian Poulton 34:15, 117 Ray Ramsey 35:25, 118 Robert Barns 35:26. 135 Peter St-Amour 36:13, 145 Liam Carr (U20) 36:36, 159 Richard Bennett 37:30, 165 Graham Maynard 38:06, 187 Paul Ford 39:39, 189 Clem Dixon 39:45, 210 Jerry Carnell 42:24, 224 Pat Austin 45:33, 225 Roderick Cookey-Bresi 45:44, 232 Paul Warricker 48:50.
M70+ (5000m): 4 Keith Dungate (M70) 25:37, 6 Peter Hadley (M75) 27:00.
YAG Boys: U15 (4000m): 2 Sam Scrase-Field 13:07, 7 Olly Buck 13:27, 15 Sam Holloway 14:04, 17 Felix Tyan 14:11, 24 Aniket Iyengar 14:33; U13 (3000m): 11 Alex van den Berg 12.12, 14 Monty Brown 12:19, 59 Barnaby Hart 14:31.