This is the last report from the Epsom Downs this season as we now head for the summer and will leave the Cross Country behind. But is this the most exciting report to write since we had some new -and excellent - additions to the teams; without exception, runners were flying, running new PBs or sailing very close to their PBs, and we had medals and, well, half a trophy. Plus, we can now also crown our own K&P XC club champions for this year.
As always, we started with the U11s. The race was again very busy with 73 contestants, running the 2.2km course in everything between 10-19 minutes. We were led home by a formidable Sam Atkins who finished 8th (8th boy) in 11:18. New runner Oliver Cooke came in next, 11th/ 10th boy and excellent 11:33. A superbly improved (new PB by 57s) Samuel Hall followed in 11:45 and 12th place/ 11th boy, chased hard by Oscar Lloyd-Davis in 11:47 and 14th place/13th boy. Then came Sam Bishop, who in 12:32 and 30th place/26th boys also had a fine debut. Ava John followed in 12:35 and 31st place/ 5th girl, then Hannah Choudhury in a new PB of 12:45, 36th place/ 7th girl, Oscar Nicholas, with a new PB of 12:56 and 42nd place/ 33rd boy, Finnian Chang in 13:36, 51st place/ 39th boy, Ella Slone in 13:53, 56th place/ 16th girl and Brody Skinner in 14:35, 63rd place/ 41st boy. The team came a very strong 3rd on the day, finishing 4th overall, just 6 points behind the 3rd. In the overall rankings (must do all races), Oscar LD finished 7th, Oscar N 15th, Finnian 16th and Brody 18th. The girls came out on top, with Ava winning silver and Hannah bronze. For the club rankings, it’s the order athletes finished on the day. So bronze to Ella, silver to Hannah, gold to Ava and bronze to Sam H, silver to Oliver and gold to Sam A. All of the medallists will go up one age group in the summer, yet with our “younger” U11s having done so well, too, I would think that next XC season will be a good one. Well done to you all.
In the 2.5km U13s’ race, Dominic Fellows had the run of the season, shaving 29s off his PB and in 12:14, finishing 11th/ 10th boy and securing himself club gold. Next in was Max Dickson in 12:17 and 12th place/11th boy, who consistently performed at a very high level throughout the winter and very deservedly won club silver. Michael Webb-Bourne came in with a new PB of 12:48 14thplace/ 12th boy to take bronze, chased by Evie Wilkinson in 15th place/ 3rd girl. Evie gave everything, and with a neat new PB of 12:50 (-16s), the K&P club gold and the gold medal on the Downs, she found it very much worth it. Alix Baccardax who came home in 13:41 and 37th place/15th girl saw her great efforts throughout the season rewarded with club silver, and she was followed by Poppy Parry in 14:11 and 47th place/21st girl, who earned herself the club bronze. Next was Freya John who, despite nurturing a bad cold insisted on supporting the team; she was 51st/ 25th girl in 14:20. Then we had javelin thrower Sebastian Chang in 14:42 55th position/ 27th boy, Jojo Mclean, also a javelin thrower, in a new PB of 14:55 61st/ 33rd girl (what a long run-up to a throw… ) and we closed the score line with Jacob Skinner in 15:08 and 62nd place/ 29th boy. In the overall Downs League rankings, Max finished 6th, Michael 8th, Dominic 9th, Jacob 13th boy, Evie was crowned queen of the Downs, Alix came 6th, Freya 7th. The team finished in 2nd place, testimony to our solid performance both on the boys’ and the girls’ side. Well done U13s!
And then the U15s’ race. We had had won the 2nd and the 3rd match, but because we had been well beaten in the 1st, we only were 3 points ahead of Herne Hill. Obviously, they brought their runners out, and we tried to do the same (missing 3 though…). And so it went: An absolutely flying Eric Williams kept up with the leading lad from Holland Sports, Luke Hewitt, who was outstanding the whole season. Eric’s run earned him a great new PB in 11:05 and he came 2nd on the day. Next in was a fantastic Matt Hall in 11:25 and 6th place. Matt hadn’t run the Downs last season, but going by the time he had the year before, he smashed his PB by 61s. Next was a cold-ridden but utterly determined Jack Dickon in 11:49 and 8th place, with Jack Stracey on his heels in 11:45 and 9th. William Bourne had just done the Downs once before, but with a spirited run in 12:42 and 18th place/ 15th boy, he took a full 38s off his previous PB. We closed with Imogen Busa in 14:51 and 27th place/ 10th girl. Of course we hadn’t failed to notice that Herne Hill had brought three runners through in 3rd, 4th, 5th place. Yet the final count revealed that although HHH won the match, they only did so by 3 points. Therefore they ended with exactly the same score as we did, they won exactly the same number of matches as we did, and there was nothing to distinguish the teams. So the great effort of everybody ensured that we didn’t lose, in fact we are joint winners! For the overall rankings, only the two Jacks had done all races, with Jack D being pipped to 4th by 1 point and Jack S. to 6th by 1 point. Yes, if only… But Jack D and William will have another go next year as they will stay U15, and Jack S, who never thought he would do that well in XC as he is an 800m specialists, will surely use his speed and endurance for new successes, reinforcing the U17 middle distance squad together with Eric, Matt and Imogen. Club medals will go to Eric (gold), Matt (silver) and Jack D (bronze), and the girls’ gold to Imogen. Well done to our U15s.
A final thank you to the parents, families and friends who patiently endured the chill on the Downs to support the teams, all our helpers who worked with teams and ‘officiated’ at the first match and the Broderick family and Horton Dental who over many years have been sponsoring the event.
I wish you all the best for the Summer T&F season and I am looking forward to seeing you at the YDL, LilyB and Ebbisham League matches.
Your Cross Country TM Susanne Dietrich (susanne.dietrich @live.com, 02083997084).
PS. We will call for a medal ceremony with PB certificates for all Downs League runners when we are all back at Kingsmeadow.