This weekend saw ESM head to the picturesque Trent Park for the annual Fraternity and Sorority Cup. This race has been held since 1933 between local clubs and is a bit different to other cross country races because the men and women run the 8km course together. It was a sunny but chilly day and the course was in pretty good condition, just a few muddy patches to remind us that we were doing cross country. The course was two laps and included a lovely path down through woodland although the path did not seem so lovely on the way up, especially so on the second lap.
ESM fielded, or should I say ended the race with, 10 runners. Transport problems meant that Santosh and Manish were delayed and heard the starting gun just as they left Cockfosters tube station. Having travelled all that way they weren’t going to let a missed start end their race, so after sprinting to Trent Park they joined the race well after everyone had started. Santosh ran the course in a great time considering his delays. He zoomed past quite of few of us and even managed to give us words of encouragement. Manish missed a section of the course so did not go through the funnel at the end to get an official time.
Now onto how the rest of our runners performed…. Our first place runner was Mo Hashi who finished eighth overall. Mo was disappointed not to finish in the top three after setting off strongly but it was a good performance nonetheless. Michael Hellyer and Nick di Paolo came in next. Michael was running as second-claim for ESM in his second cross country race and put in a great performance. Nick was running his first cross country race and had a good race although he felt he was a bit too apprehensive on the downhill sections partly due to running in spikes for the first time and partly due to feeling the ill-effects of the night before. Fiona Kennedy and Leanne Smith were our first two ladies. Fiona running as strongly as always even with a calf niggle on the day. Leanne (shown above sprinting for the finish) was close to Fiona for most of the race but lost ground on the long (and seemingly endless) uphill sections which made up the southern part of the course. Keith Freegard and Carol Jones had a very close finish with Keith just beating Carol to the line by two seconds. Simon Turrell finished strongly for the ESM men overtaking Katie di Paolo on the final lap. Katie completed the ESM team finishers.
Refreshments were enjoyed at the very pleasant café afterwards and we all headed home to nurse our legs back to health. For those tempted to give the course a go – or another go – the fourth Met League race is held here in January.
ESM results summary
Men: 8 Mo Hashi 27:26; 79 Michael Hellyer 31:10; 88 Nick di Paolo 31:44; 130 Santosh Rai 34:11; 164 Keith Freegard (V55) 37:35; 186 Simon Turrell (V45) 41:17
Women: 10 Fiona Kennedy (V55) 33:47; 14 Leanne Smith 35:08; 29 Carol Jones (V55) 37:37; 50 Katie di Paolo 41:34
Full results here