We sent a men’s and women’s squad to the London Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill on Saturday. Both teams finished 13th, which for the women was slightly down on last year’s ninth place. For the men, who have not always participated in this championship, the result was a significant improvement.
The team of seven men who braved the hills, mud and unrelenting rain were led home by Simon Shaw (34th), who was also the third veteran in the field of c.350. U20 Florjan Bakalli (112th) was chased hard by the M45 contingent of Mark Kencroft, Rob Brown and James Steel, but the gap between the four widened to two minutes by the end of the race. Florjan was the third U20 in the race. Steve Plested and fellow M60 Rob Howells completed the line-up.
With two women side-lined by throat infections, six toed the line on the day, in a larger than average field of over 200. Shona Cowper made an ambitious start up the opening hill, but was quickly overhauled by Nikki Shelley. Fiona Kennedy pulled through into the lead as they tackled the second hill and eventually led them home in 40th. Just a minute later and Shona (70th) was across the line, with Nikki (86th) in a further half minute. The W55 trio of Christine Meek, Carol Jones and Lynn Wilson were less than a minute apart, though Christine took the fourth and final scoring slot.
Having warmed up in time for the publicised 1:15pm start, the women weren’t amused to be told the race wouldn’t start for another 15 minutes! The photo shows them huddling under the tent (provided by Tim Hannah for the young athletes competing in the London Youth Games).
34 Simon Shaw (M40) 36:58, 112 Florjan Bakalli (U20) 40:17, 139 Mark Kencroft (M45) 41:06, 155 Rob Brown (M45) 41:32, 171 James Steel (M45) 42:08, 269 Steve Plested (M60) 46:49, 305 Rob Howells (M60) 49:51
40 26:26 Fiona Kennedy (W55), 70 27:29 Shona Cowper, 86 28:01 Nikki Shelley, 121 29:49 Christine Meek (W55), 129 30:06 Carol Jones (W55), 141 30:45 Lynn Wilson (W55)
Full results here