Met League – Claybury – Sat 12 Oct 2019

The senior men stole the headlines at this opening match. Following their return to Division One, they produced their best Met League team result for some years, finishing fifth on the day.

Jamie Taylor-Caldwell takes up the story: Having spent most recent seasons yo-yoing between Divisions 1 and 2, (and only earning a place in the top division for this season through the expansion to 12 teams), to take fifth place was pretty remarkable. I believe it’s our best result since Horsenden Hill in February 2009 (but I need to check that).We had five men in the top 50, eight in the top 100, and all twelve scoring runners in the top 165. Most encouragingly, there were still several athletes missing, who will be back for the next fixture at Welwyn, so we are optimistic that we can build on this strong start.

There were seven debuts for ESM in the Senior Men’s race, and a large team of 20 runners. Hopefully we can stretch to 24 to complete a B team at future fixtures. The Vets also performed well, finishing third team in Division 2, and with two teams to be promoted, that provides a good target for them!

Arun managed to get most of the senior men into the team photo!

As ever, it was the young athletes who kicked off the proceedings. Ours were out in modest numbers due to clashes with other sports, reports U11/U13 coach Bridie Lebdiri. However new members Nicola and Rosie Hewitt impressed on their first outing for the club, with Nicola even managing to finish in the top 10 of the U13 girls’ race. Twin sister Rosie was hampered by a lack of spikes, so found herself slipping and sliding. Sadly, two of our U13 girls arrived too late and missed their race. There is a good team in the making, if we can get them all out on the same day! Scroll down for all the results and positions. (Injured U17 Arun Manget is missing from the results but made himself useful by taking lots of great photos of the senior races).

Some damp-looking young athletes, with coach Graham (photo by Bridie)

Team Manager Shona Cowper takes up the tale from our senior women’s perspective: I did begin to wonder if I’d put some sort of weather curse on the race when I generated the Facebook event saying “it’s always dry on this course!” It was inevitable that Claybury was going to be a mudfest considering the amount of rain we’ve had recently. And so it continued on race day, with a steady stream of rain throughout the afternoon meaning it was the wettest start to a XC season I’ve ever seen! A small band of women took to Claybury to take on the mud and get the first points in this year’s Met League: Shona Cowper, Megan Hubbard, Carol Jones, Lucy O’Brien, Gabija Rasiukeviciute, Amira Nuseibeh and Barbro Julin. Lucy was questioning her sanity before the race started but some positive words got her to the start line with the rest of us.

U20 Lucy copes well with the challenge of her first 8K over the country (photo by Arun)

There was a magnificent round of applause at the start of the women’s race when the recently equalised distance was announced. A lovely moment to be a part of and a nice way to break the trepidation of this ‘unchartered’ long distance. And so we were off down that narrow path at the start of the course, straight into the mud and wet. As always, there was great support around the course despite the continuous rain. Megan described the notorious Claybury hill up into the woods as the ‘hill of hell’ but managed it three times without stopping OR falling over. Always a bonus when one manages to remain upright for the entire race. This was Megan’s first cross country race and she said she “can’t wait for the next mud fest” – we’ve got a new convert!

Megan takes her first cross country in her stride (photo by Arun)

There was a great race between Megan and some other racers in the last 200m or so, with three of them coming in within 4 seconds of each other. I really enjoyed the new race distance, feeling that it plays to my strengths and preferences and was much easier to pace. I’m not sure I’ll be saying the same when it’s a course like Ally Pally but I’ll remain optimistic for now! The rest of Arun’s photos from the women’s race are here, and the senior men’s race is here.

Any additions/corrections, please email Fiona at

The next Met League is at Welwyn on November 9th. Full details will be available in due course on the Met League website.

ESM results summary:

U11B (1.5K): 16 Elliot Edgar 06:24
U13B (3K): 17 Alec Edgar 12:03, 26 Kevin Prempeh 12:31
U13G (3K): 10 Nicola Hewitt 12:32, 30 Rosie Hewitt 13:31
U15B (4.1K): 108 Hussein Zaaiter 18:39
U17M (4.1K): 8 Seweryn Czapka 14:20, 52 Vitaly Bender 16:04, 55 Thomas Edgar 16:07, 74 Rafa Davison 16:46
U15G (4.1K): 53 Sonia Ouzhene 21:04, 60 Anna Dussaillant 22:38
U17W (4.1K): 46 Katie Hay 19:59, 51 Lauren Beale 20:56
SW (8.1K): 48 Shona Cowper 34:56, 71 Gabija Rasiukeviciute 36:56, 121 Lucy O’Brien (U20) 40:39, 130 Megan Hubbard 41:16, 152 Carol Jones (V60) 42:28, 161 Amira Nuseibeh (U20) 43:51, 178 Barbro Julin (V55) 45:46
SM (8.1K): 24 Mohamed Hashi 27:23, 31 Ben Waterman 27:48, 36 Jamie Taylor-Caldwell 27:58, 38 Elias Ahmed (U20) 28:01, 45 Oliver Way 28:28, 68 Christopher Hepworth 29:15, 74 Oskar De Schynkel 29:25, 89 John Robertson (V40) 29:46, 103 Mukhtar Farah 30:23, 113 Nick Steel 30:44, 155 Reece Asik 31:54, 165 Akira Anzai-Jackson 32:03, 183 Mark Kencroft (V50) 32:32, 193 Sean Hanrahan 32:54, 204 Colin Foster 33:21, 270 Martin Daoud (V55) 35:41, 272 Ian Leslie (V60) 35:48, 333 Philip York (V55) 38:38, 336 Andy Price (V40) 38:49, 407 Liam Kencroft 43:28

Full results on power of 10