The British Athletics Cross Country Challenge came to Milton Keynes’ Teardrop Lake on Saturday 9th November. The event drew over 1700 runners from across the country, including many of Britain’s best, and it also incorporated this season’s second Chiltern Cross-Country League match, so within each race our athletes were competing for both national and local positions. Take last week’s torrential rain, add in rapidly dropping temperatures, and then get all of those pairs of feet to plough up the course, and you have classic muddy cross-country conditions.

One of the best Bedford and County performances came from Tia Wilson, who was up against a classy Under 20 Women’s field that included highly-ranked Eloise Walker from Edinburgh and Border Harrier’s Olivia Mason. The two Northern athletes proved a little too strong, but Tia fought through the mud to a fabulous third place in the national race. In so doing, she finished ahead of all of her local rivals to claim victory in the Chiltern League division 1 competition, finishing the 4.8 kilometre course in a time of 17:09.

Smaller Tia Wilson Chiltern Nov 2019

Photo by Barry Cornelius

Tony Forrest reports on the Senior, Junior and Veteran Men:

“With a field of over five hundred athletes, the Senior Men’s race saw fifteen of Bedford’s best Senior, Under 20, and veteran men braving the horrendous cold and wet conditions. The stand out result was without doubt that by Matt Bray, who produced his finest ever cross-country performance. Going with the early pace, Matt soon settled in the leading group, matching strides with both the 2018 and 2019 National Cross Country Champions for more than half the race. Eventually finishing a magnificent 11th in the national race, Matt took 2nd spot in the Chiltern League division 1 race within a race. Jono Janes was Bedford’s second runner home finishing 3rd in the League race, and 21st overall, despite suffering three falls down the steep, and very slippery, hills.

Under 20 Harry Brodie continued his excellent form, finishing in 4th place, and 1st U20 in the League race. Ed Blythman in 9th ( 2nd U20) and James Minter 11th (3rd U20), were followed home by Pete Benedickter ( 17th), Andrew Headley (25th), Joe Strange (31st), Charlie Palmer (43rd), Stephen Headley (48th), Will Mullins (50th), Ewan Wilson (95th), Stuart Still (105th), Jim Black (141st), and James Danobrega (161st). Bedford were narrowly beaten by Milton Keynes in the 10 to score Senior team race, but got revenge to win the 3 to score U20 team race.”


Steve Janes reports on the Boys’ teams:

“A wet and cold Saturday saw us compete at the second round of the Chiltern League at Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes. It was muddy and decidedly slippery underfoot, but all our athletes competed with a smile on their faces and a spring in their feet!!

First off were the U11s, who were led home by Jack Hale in 13th in the match and backed up by the two Zacks (Vincent followed by Danobrega), and the baby of the group, Coombesy - or as his mum prefers, Oliver Coombes. The Under 11s had the best weather conditions as after that it rained and rained and rained some more.

The first finisher in the U13s was Austin Cole who was closely followed by Oliver Wilson, who as a bottom year had a very good run. The scoring four was completed by Cameron Barnes and Daniel Smith. They were 4th team on the day.

The U15s were the pick of the teams. An in-form Noah Campion was first home for both the team and the Chiltern League match itself. Noah was also 13th overall when the UK Cross Challenge Athletes were added in. A fantastic performance. The team packed very well, with Euan Supple 7th in probably his best performance to date, Ayman Siad 8th in his first race since a long injury lay off, Ethan Cairns 11th, James Taylor 17th, and Chris Brodie 19th. Without exception the boys all ran well and competed to the line. They were the first team on the day and currently head the U15s team league after two rounds.

The U17 race was in many ways the most competitive junior race of the day. Alex Alston was a commendable 4t,h with Tristan Cook a very good 10th. Ahmed Tassadaq had his first cross country race for the club as an U17, and fid well to finish 20th. He was followed closely by James Vinnecombe in 21st. With whilst Jack Hutchings and Max Hanford having solid races, the U17s were the 3rd placed team on the day.”

Other notable performances included Lily Farr (10:51) and Millie Dunger (11:22), who came 5th and 10th respectively in the 2.9 km U13 Girls race.

The Under 13 Girls, Under 15 Boys and Under 20 Men all won their Chiltern League events, whilst the Senior Men finished second, and the Veteran Men, Under 17 Men and U17 / U20 Women all finished third. After two rounds, Bedford and County remain in second spot overall. There are three rounds to go.

For a full breakdown of all Bedford and County results, see the Results section.

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