Saturday 12th October saw more than fifty runners from Bedford and County, ranging in age from under 11s to masters, take part in the first round of the Chiltern Cross-Country League. Competing against forty-three clubs from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire, Bedford finished in second place overall. In the age group competitions, all of the club’s teams finished in the top ten, with the Under 20 Men winning their competition, and the Senior Men, Under 15 Boys, Under 20 Women, and Under 13 Girls all finishing second.
In the absence of most of Bedford’s leading Senior men, it was left to the club’s Junior men to fly the flag at the sharp end of the combined Senior/Junior (U20)/Veteran Men’s race. Bottom year Junior, 17 year-old Harry Brodie had the outstanding run of the day, running with great maturity to finish in a superb, and very unexpected, 3rd place, with a time of 29:31 for the very testing 9k course. Fellow Juniors, new signing James Minter and Ed Blythman, also exceeded expectations finishing 6th (29:53) and 11th (30:10) respectively.
Bedford’s scoring team of 10 was completed by Andrew Headley in 19th (31:10), Patrick Stewart 27th (31:46), Joe Strange 28th (31:53), Will Mullins 35th (32:18), Tom Powell 40th (32:53), and Ewan Wilson 60th (34:11). These were followed in by Andy Blair 97th (36:21), Jim Black 127th (37:32), Stuart Still 128th (37:39), and Tony Fitzpatrick 191st (42:38). With the first 3 Juniors to finish Bedford comfortably took the Junior team victory, but local rivals Milton Keynes just pipped Bedford to the Senior team win.
In the 5,700 metre Senior Women’s race, Alice Burgin held-off Alexandra Cook from Wycombe Phoenix to clinch an excellent second-place in 21:14, and Josie Smith grabbed ninth spot in 22:53. Lucy-Mae Shepherd (21:12), and Lauren Nichols (21:27), were the third and fourth Under 20 Women to complete their 5 kilometre course, and Lily Farr (11:05), came in eighth in the 2,900 metre Under 13 Girls race. Alex Alston (19:32) was sixth in a keenly competitive 5.7 kilometre Under 17 Men’s race, whilst Noah Campion (13:04), finished 3rd in the 4.3 kilometre Under 15 Boys’ race.
(Thanks to Tony Forrest for the Senior Men’s report)