The fifth and final fixture of the Met League saw numbers down a little, as the total number of finishers dipped below 1000 for the first time this season, write Fiona Kennedy & Phil York.
Conditions were certainly not for the faint-hearted, as the the wind and rain added to the quagmire underfoot on this testing course.
At least three of our athletes – U11 Evan Thomson, senior man Jonathan Horan and W60 Annick Hooge – tackled the race without the benefit of spikes. That must have been tough!
There were some great individual performances from the young athletes. Lucy Henson finished a fine fourth in the U13 girls’ race, while nine-year-old Finlay Vadon, just getting back from illness, had a great run in the U11 race to finish sixth. For both, it was their highest ever placing in a cross country race.
The U13 boys have turned out in force all season. They were down to just five on Saturday, but still managed to climb another place to finish seventh in the League. Finn Combe led them home in 15th with Maxi Steel just half a minute behind.
In the junior women’s race, the consistent Angel Grimes-McTavish finished yet again in the top ten. Backed up by Lucy O’Brien, Cameron Thomas and U15 Charlotte Cooney-Quinn, our junior women held on to their fifth place in the League.
Ever-present U15 Arun Manget was our sole representative in the corresponding junior men’s race, finishing 18th in his age category.
For the seniors, the men had the pleasure of cementing their place in division one again next season. Mo Hashi was first home, chased hard yet again by Mukhtar Farah, who was third U20. Sam Ashcroft ran a canny race, closing on Mo and Mukhtar throughout the second lap. Peter Flewitt also finished inside the top hundred, and placed third in the V45 age category. Archie Jones travels long distances to represent the club, and he delivered easily his best performance of the season, gliding effortlessly across the Trent Park mud. Mark Kencroft has been an ever-present in the Met League this season, and improved on his positions in the previous three fixtures. While putting on his spikes before the race, Martin Shelley questioned his sanity as the weather began to deteriorate. However, Martin’s determination was rewarded with his best finish out of four Met League appearances this winter. Ian Leslie was close behind with a creditable second place in the V60 age category. Team manager Phil York was disappointed to miss out due to injury, but lent his club vest to Jonathan Horan. Jonathan, in his second appearance for the club, was unlucky to take a tumble on the slippery course, and wasn’t able to replicate his great debut at Wormwood Scrubs, but he survived to fight another day. Simon Turrell looked really strong coming up the final hill, just edging out Wilton Grey, who is enjoying his cross country season.
The senior women were led home by our talented U20s Nicola Ravenhill and Jessica Leane. They were placed 14th or 15th early in the race but lost a little ground in the later stages. Jessica tracked Nicola doggedly throughout, but the gap grew as Nicola pulled out a strong finish on the final tough hill. The pair were second and third U20s in the race. Next across the line was Shona Cowper, who has been a cross country stalwart this season and had a great race to finish 38th, her highest ever finish in the League. Having got stuck at the back last time she raced this course, she took no chances this time and went out hard. Ealing Eagle Melissah Gibson (recent winner of the Perivale 5) was just ahead, which gave her something to focus on: “We had an ongoing battle for the whole race – I was taking her on the downhills and she was gaining on me on the flats”. Luckily Shona had her support crew urging her up the final ascent and she nudged ahead again when it mattered. Next came the veterans, with in-form Pat Thomas finishing over two minutes ahead of final scorer Carol Jones. Carol was busy with her own private battle of the W60s, just losing out to Avril Riddell of Serpentine. As predicted, the women finished third in their division.
ESM results summary:
U11B (1.5K): 6 Finley Vadon 7:01.6; 35 Evan Thomson 9:19.7
U13B (3K): 15 Finn Combe 14:09.7; 20 Maximilian Steel 14:34.9; 31 Louis Saint 15:13.4; 48 Thomas Musie 18:33.9; 50 Husein Zaaiter 20:46.3
U13G (3K): 4 Lucy Henson 14:25.5
U15B (4K): 28 Arun Manget 5:57.5
U17W (4K): 8 Angel Grimes-McTavish 16:52.7; 25 Lucy O’Brien 18:48.5; 34 Cameron Thomas 20:26.2; 40 Charlotte Cooney-Quinn (U15) 21:33.0
SW (6K): 19 Nicola Ravenhill (U20) 26:05.6; 21 Jessica Leane (U20) 26:10.3; 38 Shona Cowper 26:55.8; 112 Patricia Thomas (V50) 31:08.5; 146 Carol Jones (V60) 33:28.1; 175 Louise Prince (V45) 35:38.4; 179 Barbro Julin (V55) 36:06.4; 219 Annick Hooge (V60) 43:17.4
SM (8K): 25 Mohamed Hashi 31:47.9; 34 Mukhtar Farah (U20) 32:12.0; 41 Sam Ashcroft 32:32.4; 84 Peter Flewitt (V45) 33:55.0; 126 Archie Jones 35:28.9; 167 Mark Kencroft (V50) 36:54.1; 268 Martin Shelley 40:21.7; 289 Ian Leslie (V60) 41:40.3; 351 Jonathan Horan 44:54.7; 360 Simon Turrell (V45) 45:34.1; 364 Wilton Grey (V60) 45:50.0
Full results on powerof10