Met League – Alexandra Palace – Sat 11 Jan 2020

The name Alexandra Palace can already strike terror into the heart of a cross country runner. Imagine the reaction when, in the days leading up to the fixture, we were advised by the host club that: “the course is very very muddy and very taxing”! Well, they weren’t wrong, it was a mudfest. However… we have tackled that course in similar underfoot conditions, on much colder days and in unrelenting rain, so it could actually be argued that the 36 ESM-ers who made the trip to North London got off relatively lightly.

Not many of our younger athletes opted for this one, but thank goodness we had the Edgar family – not quite a team in themselves but with U11 Elliot, U13 Alec and U17 Thomas, they certainly boost our numbers. (I just don’t envy the cleaning-up job mum Helene has to do when they all get home!) Having somehow brought his race number from last year by mistake, Alec wasn’t recognised by the results system and didn’t originally appear in the results – fortunately, now corrected.

In fact, that wasn’t the only drama in the U13 boys’ race. One of the marshals hadn’t understood his brief and sent them anticlockwise round the sports ground, instead of clockwise! The leaders found themselves back where they started, so Ed Flewitt’s dad Pete took the initiative and guided them back on course towards the finish – about 600m farther than planned.

Alec & Ed look composed after their detour

Another well represented family were the Larkams. Kara was our only representative in the U13 girls’ race, but U15 Alistair had three other ESM-ers for company in the combined U15/U17 race. This produced our highest placing of the day, with Seweryn Czapka finishing fourth after leading in the early stages.

Our third Larkam came in the form of mum Sarah, who made her cross country debut in the senior women’s race. What a great contribution she made, finishing fifth for the club and grabbing the last scoring place for the A team. (We keep trying to persuade Amira’s mum Juliet to switch from spectating to running but perhaps Ally Pally isn’t the most persuasive place to recruit a novice!)

Sarah H, Sarah G, Bev, Shona, Sarah L, Lynn & Fiona

With the two other Sarahs (Gerrie and Harris) leading us in, followed by Team Manager Shona Cowper and first V60 Fiona Kennedy, the team managed to finish second on the day, and are currently ranked third in Division Two. Promotion to Division One is not out of the question if we take a strong team to the final fixture.

The men’s race saw an inspired Elias Ahmed finish first for the team, claiming an impressive 23rd place. Mo Hashi also took the course in his stride, placing 40th. Conversely, Chris Hepworth was clearly disadvantaged by his height, especially on the steep and slippery lower part of the downhill section. With some of this season’s stalwarts missing, it was great to see Luke Nicholas back in action, finishing sixth for the club. U20 Chauncey Edwards also put in a strong performance – he’d be first to admit that neither the distance nor the terrain were to his taste but his 10th place was a great contribution. The men finished sixth on the day and have dropped to sixth in Division One.

Elias hot on Mo’s heels down the tricky lower slope

The final fixture is at Trent Park on February 8th, and it would be great to see a strong turnout. Details will be posted here in due course.

ESM results summary:

U11B (2K): 17 Mika Stripp 8:01; 24 Elliot Edgar 8:31

U13B (approx 3.6K – wrong route): 9 Edward Flewitt 13:15; 14 Alec Edgar 13:37

U13G (3K): 22 Kara Larkam 13:18

U17/U15M (4K): 4 Seweryn Czapka 13:23; 45 Thomas Edgar 15:28; 85 Hussein Zaaiter (U15) 19:15; 87 Alistair Larkam (U15) 19:23

U17/U15W (4K): 63 Sonia Ouzhene (U15) 21:43; 66 Catherine Gallagher (U15) 22:38

SW (8.1K): 38 Sarah Gerrie 35:41; 57 Sarah Harris (V40) 37:06; 65 Shona Cowper 37:27; 78 Fiona Kennedy (V60) 38:07; 104 Sarah Larkam (V50) 40:25; 137 Lynn Wilson (V60) 42:33; 173 Amira Nuseibeh (U20) 45:22; 185 Carol Jones (V60) 46:45; 228 Beverley Packwood (V45) 56:12

SM (8.1K): 23 Elias Ahmed (U20) 28:59; 40 Mohamed Hashi 29:39; 83 Christopher Hepworth 30:52; 94 John Robertson (V40) 31:07; 109 Tom Gifford 31:41; 117 Luke Nicholas 31:49; 118 Nick Steel 31:49; 134 Elliot Jones 32:23; 184 Sean Hanrahan 33:43; 225 Chauncey Edwards (U20) 34:40; 239 Akira Anzai-Jackson 34:56; 249 Robert Brown (V50) 35:20; 363 Ian Leslie (V60) 39:38; 408 Ricky Grimes (V55) 41:42; 416 Steve Plested (V65) 42:13; 483 Simon Turrell (V50) 48:57

Full results on power of 10