We did battle with wind and relentless rain at the second fixture of the Met League on Saturday. Despite this, there was a huge turnout at the event, with the fields boosted by runners from guest clubs Cambridge University and Dundrum, a strong team from Ireland. This made individual placings look lower than last time, but in practice we performed better in most age groups.
The U17/U15 women were the star performers again, finishing second on the day and now ranked third in the league. Erica Wallace was first to finish for the club. Although she placed 13th, six of the girls ahead of her were guests, so in effect it was another impressive top ten finish. The full scoring team was home within a minute of Erica: Laura Stewart, followed by U15s Anisa Ibrahim (pictured) and Lucy O’Brien. With Roisin Lynch also competing, the squad showed strength in depth to score so well despite Nicola Ravenhill and Cameron Thomas withdrawing mid-race.
The corresponding U17/U15 men’s team also placed higher than last time, finishing seventh on the day. Like Erica, John Fielding finished 13th. A minute later and Luke Adar was over the line, followed closely by Naoki Kanai and Jack Whittaker. Jonathan Martin, Sudeys Hersi and Davide Lamagna completed the line-up.
The U13 boys finished sixth out of 22 teams, two places higher than last time. Matteo Lamagna led them home, followed a minute later by Mikey Kouwiloyan and Mahiis Hersi. The club continues to struggle in the U13 girls category, with no representatives on this occasion. In the popular mixed development race for Under 11s, Najiib Hersi turned the tables on Masaki Kanai.
After a shaky start to the League, the women’s team had a much better result this time, finishing seventh. Kat Mertens led the team throughout, finishing 56th in a record field of 218. Grazina Narviliene was just seconds behind, showing her usual strength in the later stages. Having dropped out of the first fixture, Fiona Kennedy was pleased to complete the race in 65th, while Nikki Shelley notched up more valuable points in 83rd. Sarah Gerrie put in a creditable first cross country race since the birth of her second child, while novice Katie di Paolo completed the scoring team, picking up several places with an impressive burst of speed in the finishing straight. Patricia Thomas finished close behind.
The highlight for the men was Simon Shaw’s first place in the veteran field, and 51st overall. Mo Hashi was just seconds behind, with another excellent League performance, while U20 Mukhtar Farah also impressed, less than half a minute behind Mo. Jon Ellis made his cross country debut for the season, finishing just outside the top 100, while track specialist Abraham Brown made a useful debut with the club in fifth scoring place. The scoring team was completed by Luke Nicholas, Florjan Bakalli, Angelo John, Mark Kencroft, Andy Dodd, James Steel and Martin Shelley. Pete Flewitt made his return from injury but was spiked whilst well placed and was unable to finish. Despite good individual performances, the men only finished ninth. Like the women, they will need to up their game still further to stay in Division 1.
ESM results summary
U11: 15 Najiib Hersi 7:11; 27 Masaki Kanai 7:41.
U13B: 51 Matteo Lamagna 14:44; 28 Mikey Kouwiloyan 15:42; 27 Mahiis Hersi 15:55.
U17W: 13 Erica Wallace 19:50; 22 Laura Stewart 20:27; 27 Anisa Ibrahim 20:38; 30 Lucy O’Brien 20:48; 51 Roisin Lynch 23:28.
U17M: 13 John Fielding 16:56; 45 Luke Adar 17:57; 52 Naoki Kanai 18:9; 54 Jack Whittaker 18:11; 69 Jonathan Martin 18:34; 79 Sudeys Hersi 18:55; 86 Davide Lamagna 19:22.
Women: 56 Kat Mertens 27:55; 57 Grazina Narviliene 27:57; 65 Fiona Kennedy 28:23; 83 Nikki Shelley 29:10; 97 Sarah Gerrie 29:39; 167 Katie Di Paolo 33:12; 177 Patricia Thomas 34:6.
Men: 51 Simon Shaw 32:26; 56 Mo Hashi 32:33; 67 Mukhtar Farah 32:58; 102 Jon Ellis 33:47; 130 Abraham Brown 34:42; 186 Luke Nicholas 36:37; 193 Florjan Bakalli 36:51; 208 Angelo John 37:16; 215 Mark Kencroft 37:31; 222 Andy Dodd 37:43; 258 James Steel 38:42; 316 Martin Shelley 40:25; 356 Keith Freegard 42:44; 364 Steve Plested 43:22; 378 Clive Richardson 44:09; 417 Phil York 48:20; 426 John Falvey 50:07
Full results here