Dear athletes, families and friends,
All who have been out on Sunday 6/11 to support Match1 of this year’s Downs Cross Country League will have seen that this League is now the biggest Cross Country League in North Surrey for young athletes aged 8 to school year 6 (U11), school years 7-8 (U13) and school years 9-10 (U15). With ten clubs participating, over 80 athletes contesting the U11 and U13s races, and still 42 runners in the U15 age group, this is a record. So if you are wondering why the number on your disc may have been a little lower that what you were used to seeing last year: You are now up against many more runners, and you are running with athletes who are top of Surrey, some are top nationally. So all our achievements have to be weighed against these facts. Yet you will see that we are very much up for this challenge.
Before I report on our runners, I would like to mention that besides organising the League, our club is also in charge of organising the 1st match. So it should not go unnoticed that Cashel Riordan has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to assemble our team of helpers. Matt Hyett, Peter Wilkins, Bob McDonough, Rupert Bole, John Skinnner we out on the Downs at dawn to flag the U11 and U13/15 courses. They stayed on, together with Susanne Mischke, Ian Broderick, Gill Broderick, Rupert Bole and Paul Keddie, to serve as race marshals; Peter Shilling started the races, David Hillyer and James Bell were time keepers, Sue Shilling, Anne Busa and Jenny Dickson shunted the runners through the funnel, Stewart Dickson and Colin Watts handed out the discs and Caroline Jeffcote “sweeped” all the races to ensure that any athlete with difficulties was well looked after.
My very special thanks go to our U17 athletes Rebecca Keddie, Isabella Busa and Kathryn Bartle. They raced on the Downs when they were U11s, they won medals on the Downs and beyond, they were stalwarts of this summer’s highly successful Youth Development League squad, and Rebecca and Kathryn just a week back had won bronze at the prestigious Surrey “Stoke Park” Cross Country Relay Champs. Those of you who are training with the Kestrels will also know them as junior coaches. Rebecca, Isabella and Kathryn took it upon themselves to hare the U11 and U13 races, and with a very clever system of swapping over midway, they ensured that runners always knew where they were headed. Without our hares, this wouldn’t have been possible - many thanks!
And now: the races:
First up were the U11s. Sam Atkins had an excellent debut and in a terrific time of 11:24 minutes and 11th place, he brought the team home. Right up with him was Charlie White, who in 14th place and 11:42 shaved a full 43 seconds off last year’s PB. Next were also novice runners, Oscar Lloyd-Davies in 18th place and 12:06 and Ned Rose in 19th place and 12:08, followed by Daisy Parry who in 12:10 and 20th place (2nd girl) improved her PB by 28s. Hannah Choudhury clocked 12:51 in 29th place (6th girl), followed by new runner Ava John in 12:58 (35th place, 9th girl), Finnian Chang in 13:02 (37th place, PB improved by 10s), and new runners Oscar Nichols in 13:08 (39th place) and Brody Skinner in 14:26 (60th place). I had set the team the task to have solid, even-paced runs round the course, and they all surpassed expectations. The team finished in a very strong 3rd position behind Holland Sports and Herne Hill, so well done to all our U11s!
Next up: The U13s. Our team was brought home by Max Dickson in 12:35 and 11th place, and Max wins the athlete of the match award as he took a full 3:06 minutes off last year’s PB. Max was chased by an excellent Michael Webb-Bourne (12:43, 12th place, new PB by 39s), followed by Evie Wilkinson in 13:06 and 18th place/3rd girl (PB improved by 57s) and by Matteo Leforestier in 13:25 and 21st place. Sprinter Dominic Fellows on his 2nd outing on a cross country course confirmed his endurance, and in 13:44 he came 31st. Next were Freya John (14:05, 36rd/ 12th girl), Esme Cerilli (14:08, 39th/ 15th girl, PB improved by 37s) and Jacob Skinner (14:11, 42nd). Alix Baccardax pulled her hamstring and still improved her PB by 32s (14:15, 45th/17th girl), a whisker ahead of Sebastian Chang (14:16, 46th), Poppy Parry (14:18, 47th/18th girl), and we closed with Daniella Townsend (15:13, 64th/31st girl). The team finished 3rd behind Herne Hill and South London Harriers, so a very satisfying result, too.
Arguably, our U15s are the most competitive: the race was won in 11:04, or own Neil Wellard when he was a youngster set the record with 11:01, and our team scored: 3rd position with Jack Dickson in 11:07 (PB improved by 55s), 7th place with Jack Stracey in 11:38, 8th place with Mack Downey in 11:40 (32s off his PB), 15th place with Olly Wilson in 12:21, 35th place with Freddie Crosby in 14:32 and 37th place (13th girl) with Imogen Busa in 14:54. The team can celebrate a very neat 2nd place, only 10 points behind currently 1st-placed Herne Hill. A few runners weren’t available this time, so I would think that with all hands on deck, we can trump this. Well done U15s!
The next match will be on Sunday 4/12, same place, same time, more biscuits. It would be fantastic to see you all again, best with reinforcements from the Kestrels and our older training groups. So spread the word!
Your TM Susanne Dietrich (susanne.dietrich @live.com, 02083997084)