A great turnout of fifty-four Chiltern Harriers athletes made the trip to Merchant Taylor’s School in Northwood on Saturday for the first of the Active Training World Cross Country Race Series.
This was a very welcome introduction of cross country locally from a company that regularly hosts triathlon and duathlon events. The races were based around athletes starting in small waves of six around ten seconds apart. Immaculately kept grounds made for a good surface in very wet conditions that brightened up for the seniors later on.
Chiltern athletes had a good deal of success in the day, especially in the first age group toeing the line, the U11s. First across the line on the 2k circuit was Tom Ford who won the boys race in 7.41. George Mawby had a great run to be sixth in 8.12 and Charlie Quantrill was tenth in 8.20. Kit Dixon was 13th in 8.31, Jacob McCall 20th in 8.43, Isaac McCall 24th in 8.54, and Luke Coultate 26th in 8.59.
Ellie Danner matched Tom’s win with first place in the U11 girls race. Ellie logged 8.14 with Kara Gorman second in 8.21. Nia Clarke also ran well for seventh in 8.38.
The U13s also did well on a 3k route that was the first to feature a stream-crossing that caused problems with its depth. On the boys side Daniel Munn was second in 11.48, Alex Hughes fifth in 12.05 and Callum Powell ninth in 12.23. Debutants James Holdsworth and Rex Considine did well to be 26th and 43rd respectively in 13.13 and 15.08.
The U15 boys race showed just how well this age group could be achieving for Chiltern in a normal season. Thomas Redmond had a storming run to win in 14.13 over a 4k course. Alden Collier was third in 14.44, Euan Pinder ninth in 15.15 and Archie Pinder tenth in 15.17. Max Baxter was 20th in 15.45, Isaac Jessop-Tranter 22nd in 15.59, Ethan McCall 23rd in 16.03, Sammy Whibley 28th in 16.34, and Sammy Bennetts 33rd in 16.50.
The U15 girls race was loaded with talent. Frankie Baxter was fifth in 16.36, Maddie Hughes tenth in 16.56, Lesedi Nkoane 12th in 17.02, Ellie Shield 17th in 17.20, Hannah Ashby 34th in 18.50 and Amber Galley 43rd in 20.35.
Chiltern’s U17s did well in high quality races over an increasingly churned-up 5k. On the men’s side the Chiltern contingent packed well with James Palmer fifth in 18.47, Thomas Askey sixth in 18.51, Luke Martin eighth in 19.00, Angus Stoneham 12th in 19.17, Will Shield 17th in 19.49, and debutant Henry Webb 26th in 22.35.
The women’s race was another top level race, featuring at least two National champions and the Chiltern foursome ran well. Holly Henderson was eighth in 21.29, Abbie Henderson tenth in 21.44, Alice Brown 13th in 23.13, and Alicia Bushell 15th in 23.37.
Aran Davidson led home the Chiltern senior men, tenth in 27.23 on an 8k route. Also contributing were Cory Dyck 90th in 34.30, Mike Worsfold 93rd in 34.44, Glen Martin 113th in 37.32, Nigel Dickenson 145th in 48.40, and Trevor Brawn 147th in 49.57.
On the women’s side Lean Chiobhain was 8th in 32.44, Ali Young 23rd in 35.37, Cath Holloway 30th in 36.37, Katie Royals 31st in 36.47, Miriam Kempson 54th in 41.49, Joanna Hampson 68th in 44.47, Claire Dickenson 72nd in 46.53, Joanne Murray 78th in 50.15, and Harriet Lemon 79th in 50.20. Harriet was amongst the athletes that ran an extra half mile or so due to a marshalling glitch.
Other than that, the organisation was good and everyone enjoyed being back in competition. The chip timing meant that results were available very soon after the end of each race. The second race in the series is due on December 19th. Hopefully the tough lockdown will relax enough by then to allow it to take place.