We made a steady start at the first fixture of the North West London cross country league last Saturday. There were some good results, but a number of key runners were absent through illness or injury.
Mukhtar Farah was the only representative in the under 17 men’s race, but he put in a good performance. The field remained tightly-packed until the second lap, when a London Heathside athlete made a break. Mukhtar dropped to third at one point, but fought his way back to second in the last field.
After a pleasing start at the two recent road relays, the under 15 boys squad was severely depleted. Raphael Bareto ran well in his first cross country, as did Alex Sung Tong, but they were two short of a team.
By contrast, the under 13 boys had runners to spare. They finished third overall, and just two points short of Harrow. Patrick Owen had a particularly good race, finishing sixth. Freddie Scarborough was just a few seconds behind in eighth, with Matteo Vao bringing the team home half a minute later. Timothy Wallace and Kirk Lebdiri completed the line-up in 33rd and 39th respectively.
The under 17 girls team finished second, led in by Olivia Will in third place. She ran a competitive race, getting the better of a good runner from Shaftesbury Barnet. She was followed by new recruit Tara Kelly in ninth and Joanna Vale in eleventh.
As with the boys, the under 15 girls’ team was somewhat weakened by absences, but they still managed to finish third. There was another promising performance from the fast-improving Nicola Ravenhill in fifth. Courtney Marshall found herself detached from other runners but managed to run a steady race, finishing less than a minute behind in tenth. Jasmine Loh was the third and final scorer in only her second race. The squad was backed up by Jennifer Connelly in 20th.
There was a good run from Lucy O’Brien for the under 13 girls, finishing in tenth, and setting the team up well for their fourth place. She was followed in by Cameron Thomas in 20th and Anisa Ibrahim in 23rd, who both ran strongly despite a lack of other runners to work off in their section of the race. This was the best attended race of the day. Emma Purcell finished in 30th, Leah Kelly was 38th, Sarah Freegard 48th and new runner Elsa Stocking was 49th.
The under 11 girls were all newcomers, and they put in a solid team effort to finish eleventh. Fiona Coutts finished well up the field in 11th. She was followed by Katie Bramwood in 37th, Isabel Adar in 42nd and Amy Kerry 43rd.
Official results are here.