Well done to all the Bedford and County athletes who took part in the National Cross-Country Championships in Nottingham on 22nd February.
Senior and Under 20 Men
Bedford and County AC’s Men’s squad were in action on Saturday at the English National Cross Country Championships which were held at an extremely muddy and windswept Wollaton Park, Nottingham.
The Senior Men’s squad was close to full strength, with 10 of their best 12 athletes including 6 former and current internationals, and hopes were very high of a team podium finish, with a fair chance of regaining the title which they won for the first time in 2014.
At the end of the small starting loop of one kilometre hopes were high with Bedford appearing to have 10 athletes up in the top 70 or 80 of the field of over 1700 runners.
Unfortunately, as the race wore on the early optimism began to fade as runners began to struggle in the horrendous conditions underfoot. Firstly 2:17 marathon runner Aaron Scott was forced to pull out due to a leg injury that manifested itself shortly after the start, whilst Irish International Matt Bergin twisted his ankle and was forced to stop whilst lying in the low 20’s. Josh Lunn also pulled out late in the race as he started drifting backwards suffering from a calf problem.
Dan Jarvis however was having a great race. After a steady start, he slowly moved forward throughout the race, easing into the top 10 by halfway and eventually finishing in a magnificent 6th place. Jack Goodwin meanwhile was also running well, gradually moving through to finally finish 26th. The old man of the squad, 41 year-old Darren Deed, had another excellent race, finishing in 52nd place, and was followed home by Ben Alcock 62nd, and John Eves 65th. Will Mackay in 91st completed the scoring 6. With a team score of 302 the hoped for bronze medal still seemed possible, but it was not to be as for the 2nd year in a row, Bristol AC pipped Bedford to the bronze by a mere 5 points. The team scores were so close that only 32 points covered 2nd to 5th. Bedford’s non scorers were Paul Mizon 140th, Mike Channing 155th, Richard Henderson 208th, Craig Emmerson 270th, and Will Mullins 302nd.
Bedford’s Under 20 Men’s squad were also gunning for a medal, but with a slightly weaker squad than that which won the Southern title, they too came up just short, also finishing in 4th place. James Minter had an exceptional run finishing in an excellent 22nd place. Harry Brodie was 56th and Alfie Yabsley 64th. Bedford’s 4th scorer Richard Laursen was unfortunate enough to lose both his shoes to the clinging mud quite early on. Running the majority of the race in his stockinged feet, Richard stuck manfully to his task and closed the team in with a hard earned 122nd place. Unfortunately the team again fell just short of the bronze medals by 22 points. So near and yet so far. It was very much a day of “what ifs” for both Senior and Under 20 teams.
Under 17 Men, Under 15 & 13 Boys
At the National Country Championships in Nottingham at the weekend runners faced the most challenging conditions of the season with a very muddy and challenging course!!
We only had one competitor at Under 13 boys but the lack of numbers was made up with a superb fifth place finish by Cameron Barnes who has under the coaching of Mark and Simon Goodwin continued to improve all season. Cameron was just one second behind the fourth finisher.
At the under 15 boys level the team finished 15th, with excellent performances by Noah Campion (27th) and Zena Saez (57th) backed up by great runs from James Taylor and Ethan Cairns.
The Under 17 men’s team also finished 15th and led home by Alex Alston who was backed up by Callum Webb, James Vionnecombe. Sam Dawes and Harry West.
Bedford’s under 13 Girls team of Rosie Foster (17th), Milly Dunger (29th) , Lyla Danobrega (36th), and Lucy Deller (176th) finished 8th.
Thanks to Tony Forrest for providing the Senior and U20 Men’s report, and to Steve Janes for providing the boys’ report.
For a full list of Bedford and County Results, see the Results Section.