After five gruelling rounds, the Chiltern Cross Country League reached its muddy conclusion at Campbell Park, Milton Keynes on Saturday. Bedford and County finished in second place overall, just behind Marshall Milton Keynes.
Senior, Junior and Veteran Men
Despite being understrength compared to previous fixtures, the Senior Men’s team won comfortably, but were unable to close the gap on league leaders Marshall Milton Keynes AC, and so had to settle for overall second place in Division One of the league. Ben Alcock, who is returning to form, was too good for the opposition, breaking away early to win the Senior Men’s race by over 100 metres. Ben’s time for the tough 8.4K course was 27:17. James Minter was the first Under 20 finisher, coming home in 4th place with a time of 27:57. Andrew Headley and Will Mullins both showed a welcome return to form finishing in 6th and 8th place respectively. These were followed home by Sam Knee-Robinson 17th, Andrew Inskip 18th, Joe Strange 20th, Richard Lauresen 27th, Craig Emmerson 35th, Stuart Still 84th, Peter Deardon 88th, Jim Black 121st, Sean Lang 184th and Tony Fitzpatrick 189th.
With only two under 20 athletes running, Bedford lost the overall Under 20 title despite having totally dominated the age group in all the previous fixtures, and had to be content with silver medals after a magnificent season. One of the highlights of which was the form of seventeen year-old Harry Brodie. Harry has been no stranger to injury in previous campaigns, but was rewarded for his perseverance with a string of excellent performances that saw him clinch the Under 20 individual league gold. Not only was Harry the first junior home in four of the races; he also finished first in the overall individual senior standings too, although sadly, as a teenager, he was ineligible for the medal or the prize. James Minter claimed the silver medal behind Brodie in the Under 20 league.
Several of Bedford’s Senior Men were competing elsewhere. Showing a welcome return to form after a disappointing South of England Cross Country championships a few weeks ago, John Eves had an excellent run to finish 9th in the prestigious Met cross country League in London, whilst Richard Henderson finished 39th in the Surrey Cross Country League.
Thanks to Tony Forrest for write up.
In the Senior Women’s race Natasha Cooper did excellently to finish 5th, and was ably supported by Sue Bosher, who came 12th, Ellie Still, who came 15th and Maddie Brodie, who finished 143rd.
One of the highlights of this season was the form of Bedford and County’s youngsters. Lucy-Mae Shepherd won the under 20 women’s league, finishing 55 points ahead of her nearest rival to win the title. And the combined under 17 and under 20 women’s team earned a well-deserved team silver. Noah Campion (14:50) came third in the Under 15 boys race on Saturday, and his consistency over the season was rewarded with victory in the Under 15 Boys league. Noah finished in the top 3 in all of the five matches, and won two of them.
The Under 15 boys collectively won the silver medal, and promising youngster, Alex Alston came third in the Under 17 Men’s league. The Under 13 Girls team won silver, with Lily Farr, who is still a first year under 13 and, bagging an amazing individual bronze, thus finishing ahead of many girls who are a year older than her. Lyla Danobrega and Millie Dunger finished fourth and fifth in the under 13 girls league respectively.
The focus now moves to the highlight of the cross country season, the National Cross Country Championships which is being held at Wollaton Park, Nottingham in 2 weeks time. With a close to full strength squad, the Senior Men’s team will be attempting to gain a podium place and could regain the National title that they won for the first time at this same venue in 2014. The Under 20 Men’s team will be hoping to add the National title to the South of England title they won a few weeks ago. And the Under 13 girls will also look to finish well up the field.
For a full breakdown of all Bedford and County Chiltern League results, see the Results section.