Written by Susanne Dietrich
Dear runners, families and friends,
Here is the report from the third of the four Epsom Downs League Cross Country matches in which our Under 11’s (U11, aged 8 and up to school year6), U13’s (school years 7,8) and U15’s (school years 9,10) compete against other runners from clubs in London and North Surrey. The League is hellishly competitive, and some of today’s athletics stars have taken their first steps to fame on the Downs. But it is also a family affair, and an overall friendly and supportive League. I suppose when you stand against the extreme weather the Downs throw at you, everybody supports everybody!
We had very promising results especially from the second match, and nurtured ambitions to get into medal positions. We just needed a good turn-out… See below how we fared.
The U11s somehow ran a wider course than usual, so times may not quite be comparable to previous ones. I am very pleased to say that, regardless, Charlie White was just off his previous PB, and he brought the team home in 17th place and 12:31 min. Samuel Hall was back after a long break, and in 12:42 and 21st place, he shaved a full 64 seconds off his PB! Next home was Daisy Parry in her second fastest time ever (13:02) and 24th place (2nd girl). She was closely followed by sister Poppy (30th, 5th girl, 13:41), and Finnian Chang (35th; 13:53). We lacked a number of household names and so the team finished 6th, which unfortunately means we stayed in fourth place. But the individual performances were great, and on the individual score sheet (must do all races), Charlie kept 9th place in the boy’s rankings and Daisy moved up to 4th girl, just 1 point behind the 3rd. Well done U11s!
The U13s were up in numbers, and up in results. Yet we lost Olly Wilson half-way - he started the race splendidly, sitting patiently behind the leader, ready to strike. And then he fell sick and couldn’t finish – get better, soon, Olly! Great that Jack Dickson could step up though, improving his PB by 41s and finishing a formidable 4th (12:02). He was followed by Mack Downey in 12:12 and 7th place who also improved his PB. Next was Matteo Leforestier in 18th place (13:29), and then in close succession Josh Bellamy (26th, 14:18), Ben Taplin (27th, 14:21), Louis Orlovac (30th, 14:37), Gemma Watts (31st, 12th girl, 14:38), new runner Alix Baccardax (33rd, 13th girl, 14:47), jumper Freddie Crosby (35th, 14:58), javelin thrower Sebastian Chang (36th, 14:58), sprinter Tom Williams (39th, 16:08), and we closed with Esme Cerilli (41st, 18th girl, 17:20). Sebastian improved his PB by 12s, spurred on by the blistering sprint battle he had with Freddie. And Tom improved his PB, too, shaving off 13s. In the boys’ rankings, Mack is 5th, Matteo 8th, Josh 9th and Sebastian 11th. Amongst the girls, Esme is 6th. The team finished 3rd, and is holding 3rd place overall. This is a very good result - well done U13s!
The U15 story unfortunately is a bit of an anti-climax. Last time, we came second and moved up to 2nd place overall. So we had hoped that with our accomplished runners, we should be able to push for first. Indeed, the race was won in a time our top boys have beaten. Yet none of them was available. In fact, we only had four runners to show for, just enough to score. So we finished 6th, ending up 3rd overall. But this should take nothing away from those who came, because they did brilliantly. Kathryn Bartle led us home, finishing in 15th place (7th girl) and 13:43, traced by Annabel Hobday in 16thplace (8th girl, 13:59). Not far behind was Imogen Busa (19th, 10th girl, 14:38), and we closed with Charlie Jeffrey in 23rd place (15:20). Kathryn sits nicely in bronze medal position, so individual glory is in reach – very well done to those who came out!
Our final match will be on Sunday 13th March. I would like to appeal to all of you to help ending the season on a high, with a nice run in what hopefully will be spring sunshine. The last race also counts for our own internal K&P XC Club championships (must be K&P club member), so there will be medals to win. Let’s just be inspired by people like Neil Wellard who ran pretty much every Downs League race when he was of age. And where is he now? Winner of the Surrey Schools this year, 4th in the South East Intercounties!
I hope to see you on the Downs on 13th March. Please let me know that you are coming.
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