Written by Matt Hyett
13 runners from K&P decided to take on the challenge of the winding, narrow and undulating Oxshott Woods course this past Saturday. A warm up jog before the race forewarned us of a number of obstacles we were set to face, from pot holes to tree roots- we were even treated to random concrete posts a few hundred meters in! But this is what true cross country is all about, it’s not meant to be easy and Oxshott certainly wasn’t!
As we jostled to get a good starting position for the 2.30 start we were warned of “Heartbreak ridge”, the hill we would face about a mile or so in. And then face twice more, in the 3 lap course. As I’m sure all runners can attest the ridge lived up to its name, and I had deliberately positioned Tukki at the top to cheer us up it.
Once again this season Matt Atkins was our first man home in 4th(throughout this report I’ll refer to our 3rddivision only placings), only very narrowly missing a sub 30 minute finish. He was followed by our other lead scorer Michael Huntley, in 9th. Pleasingly, after 3 matches Matt and Michael are the overall Div 3 3rdand 4thplace individual runners, and Matt A is 1stplace M40- congrats on this.
Despite best efforts on my part there was no keeping up with Mark Reed this time round, who was next runner in placing an excellent 21st. Not long after father Geoff, who came to cheer us on, was on hand to take him to the airport for a return to Germany. Thanks for racing Mark despite the packed schedule! After myself in 31st the next home, cheered on by his fiancé, was James Robertson (40th) celebrating his birthday with an ever improving performance. Both Alex Thomas (44th) and Chris Gibbons (53rd) weren’t quite at their best this race, the former recovering from a chest infection and the latter getting back to things after an excellent NY marathon late last year, but both worked really hard to bolster the team’s position.
Following Chris, our 8th, 9thand 10thscorers, Andy Arbour (59th), Peter Wilkins (68th) and Stewart Dickson (72nd) ably followed in quick succession. Good to see Peter going through a period of real improvement, and Andy and Stewart back racing well after injuries last season. In another quick, determined finish Mike Maranzano (102nd) placed next leading the way for Rupert Bole (117th) (another of our number in good form) and a strong run from David Greenfield (152nd).
I’m sure we wouldn’t have done quite so well on the day without encouragement from a good number of supporters- thank you to all. Aside from those already mentioned above, it was great to see Bob McDonough, David and Barbara Barrington, Cashel Riordan (resident photographer), Graham Huntley, Mike May and Ant Budarkiewicz.
In the end we finished 4thas a team, and are 4thoverall in the Division after 3 matches. Let’s push for a strong finish in match 4 at Lloyd Park on 9thFebruary, I’m sure we are capable of it!
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