Middx CC champs

At a boggy and challenging Middlesex CC champs in Perivale, the Senior men squad produced a superb performance as they clinched their first team medals for well over a decade. Going into the race with a realistic chance of 3rd in the team of 6 to score, the Senior Men finished an agonisingly 3 points off 2nd placed London Heathside! It is likely that the squad would have claimed the 12 to score trophy if they had failed to secure 3rd place.

Damian Nevins led the team home in 8th place extending his great recent form. Jonathan Morgan continued his excellent debut xc season placing 16th.  The next three scorers were closely packed. Just 20 seconds behind Jonathan and another athlete who is improving all the time was Jack Whitebury in 18th place. Phil Benson continued his strong season to finish in 20th position as he tracked Jack throughout the race but was unable to close him down. Kevin Fini revelled in the tougher than usual conditions sealing 22nd place and bringing the team home was ever reliable Jim Cooper in 28th. Fergal Kearney was the club’s next finisher in 41st, followed by Declan Traynor showing a return to form in 47th, then three Harrow AC runners tightly packed: Curtis Stevens in 53rd, Jonny Hill in 55nd, Chris Finill in 56th.  The remaining squad members were in and around the top 100: Nick Andrews in 92nd, Peter Butler in 99th, Jag Matharu in 105th and Rob Hawkes in 104th. 

With the goal of a team medal, this was a terrific team performance as we fielded a team of 16 runners-Micheal O’Sullivan was unable to finish as he suffered the misfortune of losing his shoe having been in the top 30 at the time and special mention to Rob, Nick and Jag for agreeing to compete at short notice.

In the Junior race, Chris Hudson had an excellent run in 5th place. Unfortunately due to injury and unavailability the Juniors were unable to field a team. In the U15’s races Michael Cattini had a super run to place 4th and Kay Saunders was 5th in the girls race! Also, on Sunday at the Herts XC champs Annabelle Suffield ran well to place 4th in the U15 girls race.

In both the U11 boys and girls teams there was much to celebrate as the boys won team bronze medals with Vivek Chopra running in an excellent second place for individual silver whilst the girls won team silver as Nilou Heath led them home in 8th spot with great support from Katie and Beth Dalton (10 &11th)!

Ladies team report: Whilst the rain stopped a little for the start (which was much appreciated!) it rained for good chunks of the race and added to the typical cross country challenge. Harrow had six women on the start line, five of whom were running for the first time in this race. First home was Lucy Ashe in 12th place, a great result given the fact Lucy had only just returned from holiday! Next home was Federica DeCaria in 21st place, another really strong performance and Federica’s first race since competing in the World OCR Championships in December. Harrow’s 3rd finisher was Issy Jones in 57th place, this was a gutsy run which showed Issy’s grit and determination as she lost her shoe in the mud four times and had to stop to put it back on! Never an ideal race approach but showed Issy’s bursts of speed to be able to claw her way back to 57th after all those interruptions.

Harrow’s fourth scorer was Jen Coxon in 61st place, very closely followed by Paula Dunn in 62nd place. Very strong runs from both women which they should be proud of, both are in their first season of cross country running and improving all the time as they get used to the terrain. Their endurance and determination showed in this race to keep fighting for places until the very end. Completing the Harrow team was Lesley in 72nd place, it was a fairly steady race from Lesley until a comedy face plant on the final lap, which at least provided some amusement to the nearest marshal – doing our best to keep the officials entertained in what would have been fairly miserable conditions for them! Finally a shout out to the kind Ealing Eagles runner who stopped after Lesley’s fall and came back and checked on her, to the potential determinant of her own finishing position, not needed at all but a lovely reminder of the supportive nature of cross country runners 🙂

We were very pleased to field a full team for this race and the Harrow women finished 8th overall. A solid result which the runners can be proud of given the difficulties on course. We are already looking forward to next year and to building on this.

Photos © of Mike Lepps – please credit if reused.

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