ESM’s young athletes got the cross country season off to a solid start with a home fixture at Berkeley Fields, Greenford on a balmy, sunny saturday afternoon. The North West London League comprises 10 clubs & is for age groups under 11 to under 17.
Overall, numbers were down somewhat , no doubt due to the pandemic, but there was a positive atmosphere & it was clear that everyone was delighted to get back to the first “proper” cross country race since February 2020. ESM’s middle/long distance group’s numbers held up well during the various lockdowns, & we have recently been recruiting. Nonetheless, we had several absences due to illness, injury & competing events (including for some of our younger athletes the Ealing mini mile).
Gaby Bryce, running her first race, was our only under 11 girl, but, undeterred, she came in a magnificent 5th, giving a team position of 6th.
For the under 11 boys, Marcus Muers ran a great race to finish 3rd (he ran the mini mile later in the day too!), Ilakian Dhandapani came an excellent 7th & Ronnie Sunderland 12th, giving a team position of 2nd. For all 3 it was their first club cross country race. With some key under 11 boys not available for this race, the full squad should be pushing hard for the top spot in the North West London League, & perhaps the Met, League too.
Under 13 debutante, Rosie Hartnett was our only under 13 girl but also had a terrific debut, finishing 10th, with a team position of 5th.
Our under 13 boys team was a mixture of new runners & old hands. First in was Mika Stripp, powering home to finish 9th. New to cross country, Inian Dhandapani was next, in 1th, followed by Bilal Yusuf in 16th & another newcomer, Reuben Melis, in 18th. The team placed 3rd.
Our under 15 girls put in a solid performance. In quite a large field, Rosie Hewitt led the team in, in 10th place, followed by sister Nicola in 14th. Zairah Newth was next in 22nd, followed by Adela Davison in 26th & Isabella Dussaillant in 27th. The team placed 4th.
Under 15 boys were also a somewhat depleted team, & finished 6th. In another quite large race, Alec Edgar led the way in 8th place, with Junias Lee in 20th & Kevin Prempah 32nd.
The under 17s were also short on numbers. For the girls, Lucy Henson ran a strong race to finish 6th, with Sonia Ouzhene in 15th. The team were 5th. For the boys, Jonah Mezey flew the Ealing flag alone, finishing an excellent 9th in a tough race.
We are hoping for – & expecting – better numbers in future races, & with our strong squad , have every prospect of moving up the table if we do.
But all agreed, it was great to be back!