Over 600 athletes participated in this year’s County Championships – which continues the upward trend of the last few years – and 23 clubs were represented.
ESM fielded 57 athletes, ranging in age from 9 year old Finlay Vadon to Steve Plested at 66. Highlights included four individual medals for the young athletes, and there were three team awards.
It was a game of two halves, observes John Falvey, (well-placed as marshal at the exit of the Ballot Box field). The day started cold, cloudy and crisp underfoot; it ended bright, sunny and decidedly sloshy.
First up were the under 11s, and our three lads all ran well – especially Finlay, who ran with one shoe for most of the race!
Next came the under 13 boys’ race where the scoring team of Finn Combe, Sam Bonnet and Maxi Steel packed well throughout the race and came home with well-earned bronze team medals. All three have improved considerably this season, notes coach Bridie Lebdiri – Maxi in particular has improved on his last two races, keeping close to Finn and Sam. In the U13 girls’ race, Lucy Henson was in the second pack early on and held on well for tenth place in a competitive field.
Mohamed Ali was a dominant winner of the U15 boys’ race. Although he was chased hard by Hillingdon’s Abdifatah Khalif, he never looked likely to surrender the advantage. Arun Manget also had a good race to finish ninth.
In the corresponding girls’ race, Anna Ilchenko was our best, finishing 23rd despite having taken a fall and lost a shoe.
The U20 and U17 women raced together. Nicola Ravenhill was in the leading pack of four until the hill on the second lap, when the group started to break up. As Nicola lost her place to fellow U20 India Weir of TVH, ESM’s U17 Angel Grimes-McTavish moved closer and then sprinted clear in the final field. Angel picked up a bronze medal in the U17 competition, and Nicola picked up silver in the U20 competition. Behind them, Anisa Ibrahim had gone past Jessica Leane half way through the second lap to finish 12th overall with Jessica 16th. Lucy O’Brien was the club’s third U17 to finish and won an under 17 team bronze with Angel and Anisa.
The U20 men’s race didn’t get going until mid-way through the second lap. Up until then the leading five looked to be cruising. Once Mukhtar Farah got going, he soon opened up a large gap and came home 200 metres clear.
Chauncey Edwards was a somewhat reluctant participant in the U17 men’s race (more tempted by the southern indoor championships) but produced a storming sprint finish when challenged in the closing stages.
Best of the senior women, as so often before, was Fiona Kennedy. Early on, she had the company of Patricia Thomas but moved clear as the race progressed. They finished 31st and 43rd with Carol Jones and Jane Ruhland finishing 60th and 63rd.
In the men’s race they started as they meant to go on, with Moe Hashi always well clear of his team mates and Sam Ashcroft, Simon Shaw, and Peter Flewitt staying in echelon throughout. Simon looked to be closing Sam towards the end but couldn’t get to him. Next up were Santosh Rai and Nick Steel, this time it was Santosh’s turn to come out on top. Rob Brown continued his return to form finishing inside the top half of the field. James Steel had to hold off Tom Yates and Mark Delahunty early on but pulled clear with Mark passing Tom in the second half of the race. Super veterans Ian Leslie and Steve Plested completed the team that won the 12 to score trophy.
Horsenden Hill is a familiar venue to most of us who run cross country, but this season has seen a change of orientation, with the start and finish now located at the Tir Chonaill Gaels Clubhouse on Berkeley Avenue. By all accounts, the change has gone down well with the athletes – not least perhaps because the uphill sections are now in the early part of the lap, with a more forgiving finish.
As always, a huge thank you to all those who worked behind the scenes and on the day to make the event run so smoothly: event organisers Malcolm French, Phil York and Tim Hannah, as well as the many officials, marshals and supporters who braved the cold.
ESM results summary:
Senior men (12K): 13 Mohammed Hashi 43:24; 25 Sam Ashcroft 45:24; 27 Simon Shaw (V45) 45:41; 31 Peter Flewitt (V45) 45:55; 49 Santosh Rai 47:53; 56 Nick Steel 49:04; 80 Rob Brown (V55) 51:17; 98 James Steel (V45) 53:14; 102 Mark Delahunty (V40) 53:34; 108 Tom Yates 54:10; 115 Ian Leslie (V60) 56:11; 131 Steve Plested (V65) 58:48; 144 Andy Leung (V45) 62:31; 150 Simon Turrell (V45) 64:47; 161 Gary Stringer (V55) 71:23
Senior women (8K): 31 Fiona Kennedy (V60) 37:31; 43 Patricia Thomas (V50) 39:26; 60 Carol Jones (V60) 42:11; 63 Jane Ruhland (V50) 42:39; 67 Louise Prince (V45) 43:48; 73 Beverley Packwood (V45) 45:49; 78 Catherine Gunnewicht (V45) 47:51; 82 Annette Galloway (V45) 48:19; 92 Lindsay Donoghue (V45) 50:37
U20 men (8K): 1 Mukhtar Farah 29:19
U20 women (5K): 2 Nicola Ravenhill 20:53; 5 Jessica Leane 22:14
U17 women (5K): 3 Angel Grimes-McTavish 20:46; 9 Anisa Ibrahim 21:54; 14 Lucy O’Brien 23:33; 17 Amira Nuseibeh 26:45
U17 men (5.5K): 15 Chauncey Edwards 25:37
U15 boys (4K): 1 Mohamed Ali 13:51; 9 Arun Manget 15:09; 40 Vitaly Bender 17:10; 42 Thomas Barry 17:17; 48 Marcus West 17:41; 49 Seweryn Czapka 17:41
U15 girls (4K): 23 Anna Ilchenko 17:58; 33 Fiona Coutts 19:06; 44 Lauren Beale 21:01; 45 Charlotte Cooney-Quinn 21:36; 46 Katie Hay 22:15
U13 boys (3K): 9 Finn Combe 11:53; 13 Sam Bonnet 12:02; 14 Maximilian Steel 12:09; 22 Arun Smith 12:33; 23 Jonah Mezey 12:34; 30 Mohamed Ibrahim 12:51; 38 Taaj Ojha 13:00; 48 Louis Saint 13:4056 Thomas Musie 16:58
U13 girls (3K): 10 Lucy Henson 12:58; 52 Anna Dussaillant Di Cesare 17:38
U11 boys (1.5K: 14 Finlay Vadon 8:05; 17 Alec Edgar 8:15; 32 Oscar Ojha 12:01
Full results on powerof10