The Under 15s were stars of the show for ESM at the Middlesex Cross Country Champs on Saturday, the boys and girls both taking team silver medals. Conditions on the day at Alexandra Palace were extremely testing, as this already hilly course was waterlogged in many places. The persistent rain chilled the athletes, and many complained of numb feet from start to finish.
The six-strong squad of U15 girls resumed their customary battle against rivals Thames Valley Harriers, but with TVH claiming the top three places, they once again had to settle for silver. (Several of the girls expressed dissatisfaction with their performances immediately after the race, which only shows what high standards they set themselves!) Nicola Ravenhill tracked the leading group in the early stages but lost contact towards the latter stages, leading the team home in eighth. She was followed shortly by Laura Stewart in 14th. Cameron Thomas (21st) completed the scoring team with a strong performance in her first year in this age group. With Maryam Hussein in 29th, Roisin Lynch in 37th and Leah Kelly in 41st, the squad continues to demonstrate great team spirit.
For the U15 boys, George Kerry (4th) was in contention for third and was disappointed to miss out on a medal by just six seconds. He was somewhat consoled by the team’s silver medal spot. The team medals also went to Callum Lambert (9th) with Lucas Sheehan just behind in 11th. They were backed up by Luke Adar (24th) and Naoki Kanai (32nd), who coped well in his first year as an U15.
We had other causes to celebrate too: U20 Olivia Will and U17 Erica Wallace both claimed individual bronze medals. Martha Hayward also braved the mud to complete the U17 race.
At the younger end of the spectrum, U13 Lucy O’Brien turned in her usual reliable performance to finish fifth, supported well by Anisa Ibrahim in eighth, with Sarah Freegard ensuring we closed a team. The U13 boys also fielded a team, led home by Milo Choudhry in 14th. He was supported by Nahiis Hersi (33rd) with Mikey Kouwiloyan hard on his heels (34th) and Kirk Lebdiri just half a minute behind (36th).
The U17 men did not have a full team, but Mukhtar Farah (7th) and Charlie Sillett (9th) both finished in the top ten. New recruit Florjan Bakalli put in a promising run to finish 11th in the U20 race.
The senior women could not repeat last year’s bronze medals, but finished a creditable fourth. The in-form Grazina Narviliene (13th) was first across the line, with club stalwart Fiona Kennedy (16th) close behind. Sarah Richardson (22nd) and Jane Ruhland (34th) completed the scoring team, with Jane putting in a particularly strong performance to finish ahead of Christine Meek (39th) and Carol Jones (40th). Patricia Thomas finished 58th after a busy afternoon supporting the young athletes in the early races.
There were many absentees among the club’s senior men, some of whom have switched their attention to the indoor track season. However, there were some fine individual efforts, with Steve Elson (40th) just getting the better of Mo Hashi (41st). A few minutes later and Andy Dodd (86th) was next to show, with Santosh Rai just half a minute behind in 92nd. The scoring team was completed by veterans Ian Leslie (121st) and Keith Freegard (129th), while triathlete Clive Richardson continued to gain experience in his first cross-country season (150th).
Wherever you finished, you did well to complete the course, and many thanks to Lynn Wilson for all the great photos of the senior races on the ESM Facebook page. We never seem to have enough photos of the younger athletes competing, so if anyone is out there watching, remember to try and capture some of the drama!
Men Senior (12km): 40 Stephen Elson 46:24; 41 Mo Hashi 46:26; 86 Andrew Dodd 49:44; 92 Santosh Rai 50:12; 121 Ian Leslie 54:29; 128 Keith Freegard 55:22; 150 Clive Richardson 62:53. U20 (8km): 11 Florjan Bakalli 30:48. U17 (6km): 7 Mukhtar Farah 22:15; 9 Charlie Sillett 22:44. U15 (4km): 4 George Kerry 13:32; 9 Callum Lambert 14:23; 11 Lucas Sheehan 14:34; 24 Luke Adar 15:25; 32 Naoki Kanai 15:52. U13 (3km): 14 Milo Choudhry 14:12; 33 Nahiis Hersi 16:59; 34 Mikey Kouwiloyan 17:04; 36 Kirk Lebdiri 17:38.
Women Senior (8km): 13 Grazina Narviliene 33:27; 16 Fiona Kennedy 33:34; 22 Sarah Richardson 34:44; 34 Jane Ruhland 37:56; 39 Christine Meek 38:37; 40 Carol Jones 39:05; 58 Patricia Thomas 42:52; U20 (5km): 3 Olivia Will 23:12; U17 (5km): 3 Erica Wallace 20:16; 11 Martha Hayward 24:04. U15 (4km): 8 Nicola Ravenhill 15:55; 14 Laura Stewart 16:13; 21 Cameron Thomas 17:03; 29 Maryam Hussein 17:46; 37 Roisin Lynch 19:54; 41 Leah Kelly 21:29. U13 (3km): 5 Lucy O’Brien 14:34; 8 Anisa Ibrahim 15:06; 32 Sarah Freegard 19:55.
Full results here