Bedford and County AC sent a team of fifty-six women, men, girls and boys of all ages to compete in the third round of the Chiltern Cross-Country League at a windy Stopsley Common in Luton on Saturday. The removal of that hill proved popular with the competitors in advance of the race. But the high standard of competition – over a thousand runners from all of the region’s top clubs took part - combined with the wind and heavy underfoot conditions to make it a gruelling challenge nonetheless.
The club went into the match in second place in the top division, with the Under 20 Men and the Under 15 Boys leading their categories, and the Senior Men and Under 13 Girls lying one position off the lead.
Tony Forrest reports on the Senior, Junior and Veteran Men:
“Bedford and County AC’s Senior, Vet and Junior men’s squad were in action again at the weekend in the 3rd Chiltern League Cross Country fixture of the season. The race was held at Stopsley in Luton.
Bedford’s first runner home, in the field of 226, was bottom year under 20 Harry Brodie, who continued his recent run of fine form to finish in an excellent 3rd place with a time of 31:54 for the muddy 6 mile course. Fellow bottom year U20, Ed Blythman followed closely in a superb 5th place with a time of 32:22. Pete Benedickter had his best ever cross country performance as a senior, coming home 7th in 33:01, whilst Will Mullins showed a welcome return to form with his top placing of the season, finishing 9th in 33:14. These four were ably backed up by Andrew Headley 12th (33:24), Chris Thornley 23rd (34:15), Charlie Palmer 24th overall and 2nd in the M40 category (34:18), Richard Laursen 35th (35:02), Joe Strange 37th (35:13), Tom Powell 44th (35:38), Ewan Wilson 76th (37:10), Jamie Webster 85th (37:43), Stuart Still 101st overall (38:42) and 7th in the M50 category, Tony Fitzpatrick 171st (43:29), and Sean Lang 190th (45:40).”
In the U13 Girls race, Lily Farr (10:38) came home an excellent second, with Lyla Danobrega (11:10) finishing 7th. Promising junior, Alex Alston returned to form, placing 3rd in the Under 17 Men’s race (18:48), whilst Noah Campion finished 4th in the U15 boys race, and Cameron Barnes (10:32) came 6th in the U13 Boys race. Meanwhile, Natalie Simmons (16:26) and Maddison Webb (16:42) came 4th and 6th respectively in the Under 15 Girls race, and Lucy-Mae Shepherd (20:07) was 7th in the U17 Women’s race.
With two rounds to go, the Under 20 Men’s team won their division 1 match to pull further ahead. The Senior Men’s, and Under 13 Girls’ victories saw them remain in second spot, but inched both teams closer to their rivals. The Under 15 Boys finished second on the day, but remain in the lead overall, whilst the Under 20 / Under 17 Women and the Under 15 Girls both came second in the match and are in third place overall. The Under 17 Men’s third place finish keeps them in fourth place overall.
With two rounds remaining, Bedford and County as a club remain in second place.
In addition to the Chiltern League, Josh Lunn, who has been running exceptionally well of late, had another excellent run in the Telford 10K on Sunday recording a new Personal Best of 30:10
Photos by Barry Cornelius