North West London League – 30 Sep 2023

Report written by Graham French. Photos provided by Pete Flewitt and Debra Booker

ESM’s young athletes were out in good numbers for the first fixture of the cross country season. Conditions were good, the sun shone, & we recorded 2 individual & 2 team wins. The overall results made for a good start to the season, where we are defending 4 of the 8 age group trophies in this league. Most of our athletes were coming out of a very successful track season with many pbs & team points won.

First up were the under 11s. These groups ( as for many clubs) are in a process of transition, & we didn’t quite manage full teams . But those who raced did magnificently. For the boys Jack Jones & Dylan Jones in 3rd & 4th respectively gave a team result of 2nd despite the absence of 2 other team members. In the girls race, Marin Hayward came in 6th, with Maya Richardson 11th, to give a team place of 4th. All 4 ran very strongly &, provided we can bolster the numbers in this age group, more success beckons!

Photo above: Under 11 boys and girls

The under 13 boys picked up where they had left off last year. Jack Hayward led the way, & by the final kilometre of the race had established an unassailable lead, to record a very convincing win. Triathlete Leon Boulting had a terrific race to finish 3rd. Marcus Muers in 7th & Josh Phillips in 9th made for a comprehensive team win, backed up by Kevin Liyanage, with his best outing in ESM colours, in 12th.

Top photo: Jack Hayward; Bottom photo: Marcus Muers

The under 13 girls fielded 2 full teams, showing our great depth in this age group. Violet Muralidhar led the A team in with a storming run to finish 3rd. Eve Johnson, Sophia Sargeant & Maria Szysko-Walls all had great runs to finish 8th, 10th & 12th, Sophia battling on despite a turned ankle. They were just edged out of first team place by Harrow. And still the green vests came, with Alice Wilson-Brown 14th, Layla Richardson 16th, Megan Price 18th & new athlete Maisie Sterritt 21st. The B team came 3rd , which may be vital come the end of the season as they pushed other strong teams down a place.

Photo above: Under 13 girls

The under 15 boys were also short of a full team, but what they lacked in numbers they made up for in quality, with Mika Stripp 2nd & Oliver Wilkinson 3rd. The team position was 4th, but with full teams in races to come they will undoubtedly move up the league.

The under 15 girls showed great toughness & resilience. Alya Johnson had suffered a nasty fall the week before at the Ealing mile, was patched up with bandages & hadn’t trained all week. She still battled on with a very solid run, finishing 5th. Zoe Crichton ran strongly to finish 9th. Ella Smith fell early in the race & found herself at the back of the field but fought back to 16th place. The team finished 3rd, & there is definitely more to come!

The under 17 women’s race was, as usual, lower on numbers. Nicola Hewitt continued last winter’s fine form with a strong 3rd place. Eve Sennis in 8th gave a team 2nd place.

Last season we had trouble turning out an under 17 men’s team, but with 4 of last season’s strong under 15 athletes moving up to this age group , the picture is very different this season. Isaac Mezey ran the race of his life to come home in 1st place. It looks like there is much more to come!. Backed up by strong runs from Ed Flewitt in 8th, Junias Lee 10th, Dilan Khuruna 15th & Henry Jones 16th the team were worthy winners.

Photo above: Under 17 men race start

Next up is the Met League on 14 October. The cross country season is off to a flying start!