Saturday saw ESM host the fourth fixture of the Metropolitan Cross Country League. The club was well represented, with 75 athletes taking part and countless volunteers and officials around the course. Apparently several of the young athletes lost shoes in the mud but battled on regardless. There were a lot of cross country novices, including Dave Williams and Zac Wingate-Denys, who tackled the course in ordinary trainers – well done guys!
The U17 women provided the highlight of the day, with Nicola Ravenhill repeating last season’s victory at the same event. Anisa Ibrahim also ran well, finishing sixth overall and fourth U15. The team have had a very successful season so far, finishing second to Shaftesbury on the day and ranked second overall.
For the U17 men, John Fielding achieved his best Met League place of the season in third, with a top-ten finish for George Kerry also. The team finished fourth on the day, climbing two places in the league to eighth.
The senior men’s team was boosted by a fine 17th place for newcomer Tom Jervis in the 400-strong field, while Sam Ashcroft continued his return with a top-50 place. The next three home were all U20s. Mukhtar Farah continued his promising start in the senior ranks with 56th, followed in by Manish Kunwar in 100th. Florjan Bakalli achieved by far his highest position to date, rounded off with his characteristic flying finish. Despite an excellent turnout of 28 men, the team only finished eighth. With just one match left, this is not enough to prevent relegation to Division 2.The club saw its biggest senior women’s cross country squad in years, with twenty taking part, and around a third of them making their cross country debut. Sarah Richardson led them for the first of the two laps, before being overhauled by Grazina Narviliene’s usual strong finish. With several key players injured, however, the team finished eighth and look destined to drop to Division 2 next season.
Seven boys represented ESM in the U13 race, once again led home by Felix Mountford in 14th and the finishing order almost a replay of the previous week. Finn Combe, still only 11, competed well against the older boys. In the corresponding girls’ race, Fiona Coutts made a welcome first appearance in this season’s Met League.
Najiib Hersi, Mohammed Ibrahim and Harvey Williams took part in the U11 development race, and all finished in the top half of the field. Najiib followed up his bronze at last week’s County championships (see photo) with fifth place, by far his best position yet. The photo at the top shows the enthusiasm that accompanies this race! Thanks to Jean King for the photos, more of which are on the ESM Facebook page.
The event was an opportunity for ESM to thank retiring coach and official Tony Randall, who followed a successful road racing career with years of service to the club. He was presented with a gift out on the hill, and this was followed by afternoon tea at the Community Centre.
Also retiring was Phil York (as Clerk of the Course – not in any other sense). Our course is noted for being clearly marked, and Phil has for many years put out the numerous flags, posts and tape before the event… and then removed and put them away afterwards. Hats off to you, Phil, from those of us who think cleaning our spikes is a messy job. This position is now vacant! It’s hard work, but as anyone who has put on an event knows, it’s hugely rewarding to see it go well.
ESM results summary:
U11: 5 Najiib Hersi 8:12; 16 Mohammed Ibrahim 9:01; 20 Harvey Williams 9:10
U13B: 14 Felix Mountford 12:15; 17 Matteo Lamagna 12:27; 26 Mahiis Hersi 12:45; 32 Finn Coombe 12:58; 36 Mikey Kouwiloyan 13:23; 51 Masaki Kanai 14:18; 55 Marco Lamagna 14:26
U13G: 19 Fiona Coutts 14:00
U17M: 3 John Fielding 13:26; 10 George Kerry 13:38; 31 Luke Adar 15:04; 33 Naoki Kanai (U15) 15:07; 45 Zac Wingate-Denys 15:50; 48 Jonathan Martin (U15) 15:53; 50 Sudeys Hersi (U15) 16:15; 52 Davide Lamagna (U15) 16:46
U17W: 1 Nicola Ravenhill 15:33; 6 Anisa Ibrahim (U15) 15:55; 13 Laura Stewart 16:29; 18 Cameron Thomas (U15) 17:11; 21 Roisin Lynch 17:22; 24 Maryam Hussain (U15) 17:41; 38 Sarah Freegard (U15) 20:28; 41 Jennifer Connelly 21:30
SW: 38 Grazina Narviliene (V40) 26:59; 44 Sarah Richardson (V40) 27:16; 59 Shona Cowper 28:07; 74 Leanne Smith 29:05; 78 Sarah Gerrie 29:12; 86 Lynn Wilson (V55) 29:21; 101 Christine Meek (V55) 30:10; 114 Jane Ruhland (V50) 30:42; 115 Catherine Gunnewicht (V45) 30:47; 118 Carol Jones (V55) 30:59; 126 Patricia Thomas (V50) 31:44; 128 Louise Prince (V45) 31:45; 134 Helena French 32:09; 145 Liz Mann (V50) 33:45; 148 Beverley Packwood (V40) 34:25; 164 Estelle McLaughlin 36:20; 165 Alison Turrell (V50) 36:30; 178 Sally Murnaghan (V45) 39:23; 185 Pringla Rai 42:18; 187 Nilu Dewan (V40) 45:11
SM: 17 Tom Jervis 31:17; 46 Sam Ashcroft 33:16; 56 Mukhtar Farah (U20) 34:00; 100 Manish Kunwar (U20) 35:31; 112 Florjan Bakalli (U20) 35:54; 118 Abraham Brown 36:10; 139 Simon Shaw (V40) 36:53; 140 Angelo John (V40) 36:55; 144 Mark Kencroft (V45) 37:01; 166 Charles Sillett (U20) 37:57; 172 Tom Yates 38:06; 174 Mark Delahunty (V40) 38:09; 185 Santosh Rai 38:27; 190 Conor McCarthy (U20) 38:35; 198 Robert Brown (V45) 38:53; 213 Martin Shelley 39:36; 225 Andrew Dodd 40:14; 269 Dave Foley (V55) 42:06; 297 Nar Garbuja 43:35; 299 Javaher Sondh 43:37; 312 Steve Plested (V60) 44:47; 325 Clive Richardson (V40) 45:23; 337 Rob Howells (V60) 46:20; 349 Alan Outten (V45) 47:24; 376 Ian McNally 51:00; 385 Martin Wilson (V60) 52:20; 392 Graham French (V55) 53:05; 401 David Williams 58:49
Full results here