This fixture sometimes seems unnecessarily complicated, with two events rolled into one (some people entering one but not the other), and multiple team competitions for the men (six-to-score, eight-to-score etc). If you put all that to one side, though, it’s an enjoyable event that’s just up the road, which is probably why we go back year after year! Thanks to Mark Kencroft, Moe Hashi and Louise Prince for their contributions to this report.
We had a good turnout of 11 men, including Luke Nicholas, whose work often keeps him away from home, and Akira, who is in the form of his life. Sean Hill also made the journey over from his new home in south London. He had walked part of the course on his way down, and pointed out there were still a lot of open cracks in the ground which looked hasardous.
Mark Kencroft was one of those who decided to cycle to Kingsbury; others car-shared, though parking spaces were in short supply. Philip Prince was there to meet everyone at race HQ with the numbers, and most had plenty of time to sit down and have a chat in the church hall before the senior races. (Ian Leslie cut his timing a little too finely, hence he appears slightly lower in the results than one might expect!)
The men’s race started promptly and the field spread out very quickly on the first small lap. The men’s team took home a medal, thanks to Moe Hashi’s third place. (Fourth across the line, but one of those in front was competing in the U20 competition… I did say it was complicated!) Moe was on home territory – it’s his local park – and this, combined with the relatively dry conditions, gave him confidence going into the race. He felt good enough to go with the leaders as they set off, and only lost ground in the last half a mile, being still in an intensive training block, aiming to peak for championship races later in the year.
This is Mark’s favourite course but his first concern was trying to avoid the cracks in the ground, which were difficult to spot due to the clumps of long grass. It was like this in many areas of the course, he points out, though the path through the woods – which can be really muddy on occasion – was mainly solid for once. He was pleased to get a good start, and actually finished in exactly the same time as last year, though a few places higher in the field. (If anyone else wants to be reminded of last year’s race, the report is here).
Arun Manget and Matteo Lamagna were the only two entrants in the U17 race, and not surprisingly finished in gold and silver positions. As they say, you have to be in it to win it! (The young athletes were present anyway, as the North West London League was held at the same venue).
For the women, Louise Prince comments that “this event is a great introduction to cross country for anyone who’s tempted but put off a bit by mud, as there wasn’t any! This is a lovely course, not quite 3 miles, a small loop followed by a large loop (although I prefer my loops the other way round, large followed by small, psychologically that seems easier to me…) with some varied terrain, love the bit through the woods where you have to keep an eye on the ground whilst also watching for the odd overhanging branch at the same time! It’s a nice, relaxed affair, enjoyed pretty much by everyone who runs (and one that lots of people do year after year, so the organisers must be doing something right!) Nice to have a ladies team there, hope to see many more faces at the next cross country fixture!”
Sarah Gerrie was our first finisher, followed by Sarah Harris. It’s great to see Sarah Harris racing again. If we could just get Sarah Richardson along, that would be an awesome Team Sarah.
Everyone finished with no obvious injuries, Mark concludes. “It was an enjoyable afternoon, and many of us went back afterwards for well earned coffee and cakes”. Which is a pretty good way to finish any race!
ESM results summary:
NORTH OF THAMES CHAMPS
Men: 4 Moe Hashi 25:04; 21 Luke Nicholas 27:45; 36 Mark Kencroft (V50) 29:03; 49 Akira Anzai-Jackson 29:43; 62 Rob Brown (V50) 30:30; 87 James Steel (V45) 32:19; 102 Sean Hill 33:33; 115 Simon Turrell (V50) 35:49; 117 Steve Plested (V65) 36:10; 127 Ian Leslie (V60) 42:32; 128 Martin Wilson (V65) 42:42
U17 Men: 1 Arun Manget; 2 Matteo Lamagna
M40: 8 Mark Kencroft; 22 Rob Brown; 37 James Steel; 62 Simon Turrell; 65 Steve Plested; 76 Ian Leslie; 77 Martin Wilson
Women: 7 Sarah Gerrie (W35) 18:43; 17 Sarah Harris (W40) 20:19; 48 Carol Jones (W60) 22:51; 63 Louise Prince (W45) 24:05; 71 Denise English (W50) 25:22
U17 Women: 6 Lucy O’Brien 15:56; 8 Anisa Ibrahim 16:21
Men: 4 Moe Hashi; 22 Luke Nicholas; 38 Mark Kencroft; 51 Akira Anzai-Jackson; 64 Rob Brown; 90 James Steel; 106 Sean Hill; 121 Simon Turrell
Women: 8 Sarah Gerrie; 18 Sarah Harris; 50 Carol Jones; 65 Louise Prince; 68 Denise English
Full results on power of 10