SMRAC Match Report – Welwyn Garden City Cross Country 11th November 2017

With a wet and windy week prior to race day it was certainly a surprise that rain held off for the event. With the ground remaining soft on this new course and although cold, the mini-bus and gazebo provided rest-bite for the juniors, I believe a fantastic day was had by all. Record numbers of 529 men and 249 women competed which was hosted by Herts Phoenix which proves the League is going from strength to strength.


With good viewing points from a spectator’s point of view it was a good course to be at (maybe not so much for the runners!), but it was noted by the organisers that being the first time at this venue, teething problems would be encountered.


The Met League XC Administration team are aware that the start of the U13 girls race was wrong, causing a mix up with the U13 boys start. The approach to the finish with the sharp turn off the steel hill onto concrete which proved dangerous will be rectified for future races and although the team believe all competitors ran the correct course and correct distance, it again differed of that put out on the Met League website.


If you have any ‘constructive’ comments for this new fixture that I can pass through to Herts Phoenix, please reply email to myself. I can then if required compile these and send onwards in order to improve for next year.


As at Claybury the quality of the runs by individuals on the day proved the club is fully capable of competing with the larger clubs in attendance and with the Oxford/Cambridge Varsity selection race being held also provided some excellent racing and results by SMRAC team


Results are out and can be found at


Well done all.



Charlie Brook                        9th out of 41



No Runners



No Runners


U13G – Team Position 8th out of 16

Imogen Wells            28th out of 44

Jemima Bentley        34th

Ruby Newell             35th

Evie Woolman           37th


U15B – Team 12th out of 25

Jonny Brook              11th out of 56

Dominic Rhodes       24nd

Matthew Tyas           2nd

Akash Sohal               48th



Ella Fryer                   8th out of 42



Carla Novakovic        4th out of 23

Helena Samarasinghe           10th



No Runners



Ruby Woolfe              10th out of 249



Jim Buckle (V50) 383rd  (25th age position)


Some fantastic runs from all. The fight for No.1 spot within the U13 Girls goes on with tight positioning from all and great run in’s to the finish particularly from U15/U17 girls also. Thanks to Ruby for representing the Women from Cambridge Uni and with Jim running the tail race it was a great feeling I’m told to be cheered on around the course by all the team whom were travelling on the bus, although I’m not sure the photo below tells the same story! 🙂


Thanks to Steve Rhodes for organising the mini-bus which created great team atmosphere on the day……although I think us ‘oldies’ need to find our own music play-list!


As usual there are photos by various people on SMRAC’s Twitter feed.


Great work all



Doug Poncia





SEAA XC Relay Report – 21st October 2017

With the change in weather it was wet underfoot, there were mud patches on the course and with storm Brian closing in, it felt just right for the start of the cross country season!
7 SMRAC teams went to do battle against the rest of the South of England clubs.
The gazebo and Sailflag flapped proudly in the storm wind, where most teams decided against setting up their canvas Head Quarters. Thanks to SMRAC runners and parents for helping to anchor ours down pretty quickly. It became very popular with other teams during the rain showers too!
First up were the U17 Ladies dream team, with Isabel, Helena and Carla. It was a tough first leg for Isabel as she was also up against the U20’s, she took a fall during the first leg and found that her trainers were no match for spikes in the slippy conditions but still managed a very respectable time. Helena took off on the second leg at great pace and re-appeared 30 seconds quicker than expected with a flying lap, making up some places. As usual Carla had the anchor leg, which became tactical, with only the one team within catching distance and preventing anyone from overtaking her. Carla gave her trade mark finish, as she accelerated away from the other team with 100m to go!  Excellent work.   (6th out of 16)
U13 girls next. New girl Tabatha lined up on the first leg, against some of the best runners in the country and did the club proud with a strong run. Jemima set off steady as the winds seemed to pick up and pushed hard to the end to hand over to Imogen Wells. Imogen set off quickly and continued to drive hard into the high winds, battling up the home straight for a strong finish. Well done girls.  (24th out of 34)
The U13 boys lined up for race 3. Two of our younger runners were in with the more experienced runner Ludo. Cato set off first and looked very smooth heading up the first hill, with the rest of the quality field and held his own finishing his leg, still holding form. Ludo bounced up the hill in chase of the teams ahead and disappeared into the distance. It was another strong second leg and handed over to our more inexperienced runner, Tommy. Tommy donned his spikes, fresh out of the box. It was an exposed run, with not many other runners around him but he really worked hard throughout and came home with a smile on his face. Well done boys.   (20th out of 28)
The team of Imogen’s were up next for the U15 girls, it must be the first that we have had 3 runners in the same team with the same name! It made cheering nice and easy. Imogen Deakin set off at 100 mph as usual, settled into her steady race pace and came home with a good time. Imogen King, a very consistent runner held strong and steady with a time the same as Imi D. Last off was the youngest, Imogen Parker Elms who had a bit of a lonely leg, as the field was well spread out and was fully exposed to the elements. She ran really well and has made huge progress in her running over the last 12 months. Excellent effort girls.  (22nd out of 31)
The final race was the big one.. three SMRAC U15 boys teams, with very evenly matched B and C teams of quick runners, few injuries and improving form.
A Team – Jonny meant business, sat in the pack for the initial hill and disappeared out of sight. All the training is paying off for the youngest of the team, coming in with an excellent first leg, handing over to the vast improving Declan. He skipped up the hill, making light work of the initial stage and continued to look strong until the end, with the quickest split in the team. As usual the third leg was in the hands of Josh, who has been struggling with injury and illness but wanted to be part of this team. Josh relaxed into the run, paced it nicely and had a target team to catch, which he did and came home proud.  Nice work boys..   (17th Out of 27)
B and C Teams – The Phelan’s (Gabriel and Isaac) went head to head on Leg one and pushed each other to the end, with just 10 seconds between them. Both runners with huge improvements on 2016 relay splits. Kabir set off for the B team and Matthew had a target to chase, which always helps. Matty pulled back the 10 seconds, all those Park Runs had paid off and Team B and C were level. Dom and Louis set off next to each other. Louis was up against it, with an ankle support nursing his ongoing injury against the improving Dom. Both runners dug in and did exceptionally well, with Dom opening up the gap to bring home the B team, just ahead of team C.  Great to watch and you all gave it 100%.   (B – 24th Out of 27)    (C – 25th Out of 27)
A huge thanks to all the runners, coaches and parents for making the team management a pleasure and setting up and taking down the gazebo much easier!
Mark Deakin

SMRAC Match Report – Claybury Cross Country 14th October 2017

A lovely day to start what should be an exciting cross country season saw reduced numbers due to LYG trials and the Cabbage Patch 10 but the quality of the runs by individuals on the day proved the club is well capable of competing for top honours in the age group leagues this year once a full team is fielded.


With spikes generally kept in the shoe bags, trainers on the hard ground were the preferred choice of footwear


Provisional results are out and with a few amendments in hand the results of our athletes are listed below


Well done all. Please see a few pictures taken below and apologies to any I have missed.







Ellena Deakin – 35th out of 57, Age 9 position 12th



Ludo Bellamy – 27th out of 72



Imogen Wells – 32nd  out of 52

Jemima Bentley – 39th

Evie Woolman – 45th

Ruby Newell – 47th



Jonny Brook – 6th out of 58

Dominic Rhodes – 32nd

Akash Sohal – 33rd



Ella Fryer – 8th out of 40

Imogen Deakin – 15th

Imogen Parker-Elms – 25th






Helena Samarasinghe – 18th out of 64



Bryony Deakin – Unfortunately did not finish



Ross Franks (SM) 21st out of 508

Jim Buckle (V50) 330th (21st age position)
Looking forwards to the next meeting on 11th November at WELWYN GARDEN CITY.
If numbers work then I’ll be looking to get a mini bus to this event.
Details to follow.


Jack Petchey Award Winners 2017

Our Autumn winners were presented with their awards in October 2017

Isabel’s award is in recognition of her volunteer work with the juniors on a Tuesday.  She also has a positive attitude to her own sprints training and has made big improvements these past 12 months.


Ross won his award for persevering with his athletics training despite some health challenges.  In 2017 Ross represented SMRAC in both Cross Country and on the track, running the fastest time of any SMRAC member in 800m and 3000m.

Road Relays Report

With the YDL in the past and Met League just around the corner, the regional road relays provide an opportunity for the club’s junior middle distance runners to run a longer distance without the mud, wet and tears of mid-winter cross country.

We entered teams into all three levels of road relays this year – Middlesex, South of England and Nationals; at the time of this report, its two down and one to go.

First up was the Middlesex Relays at the Hillingdon cycle track in early September.  We had an incredibly 27 runners, ranging from Ellena Deakin running in the non-relay U11 girls race up to the U17 girls team.

The U11s race went off first and Ellena completed the undulating 1.5k course in a very creditable 6 mins 32 sec.

The first full relay was then the U13s, with girls and boys teams going off together, each runner completing 2 laps of the course.

In the girls race, we entered two closely matched teams who came 5th (Monica Deakin, Imogen Wells and Jemima Bentley) and 6th (Ruby Newell, Tabatha Black and Evie Woolman) overall in times of 40,55 and 41,25 respectively.  In both teams, our middle girls ran fastest, Imogen Wells completed her 3k in 12,54 and Tabatha Black (only a few weeks after joining the club) was our fastest U13 girl in 12,27 and the 6th fastest leg overall.

In the boys race we fielded 1 and 2/3rds of a team.  Zachary Payne, Ludo Bellamy and Freddie Bate came home 7th, and Freddie Bate was equal 10th fastest leg in 11,21.  Tom Finnigan and Ronan Brosnan didn’t have a team-mate to complete the 3rd leg but still put in plenty of effort on their own legs.

As the afternoon continued, the weather got colder and windier, making it a challenge to run fast and particularly to spectate!   Fortunately coaches Trevor and Dave were on hand to make sure all the teams were properly warmed up and ready to run.

In the U15s event we had 2 and 2/3rd boys teams and one girls team.  After some fast summer times on the track, Jonny Brook led out the boys race in a time of 10,36, the fastest SMRAC time of the day and 4th quickest overall in the U15 boys.  With a strong second leg by Dom Rhodes and a fast anchor leg from Declan Connolly, the team finished 3rd overall in 32,54.  Our other full team of Louis Cummings and Gabriel and Isaac Phelan also gave it everything, battling injury and sickness to a time of 35,29 and 7th place.  Akash Sohal and Rio Lobo ran for the incomplete team and both ran strong legs.

Ella Fryer ran the first leg for the U15 Girls team and with a time of 11,40 was third fastest U15 girl overall.  Beth Turton and Imogen Parker Elms took the following two legs and kept the team in contention, finishing in 4th place overall.

Although the spectators were getting colder and colder, the highlight of the day was still to come, from the U17 girls team of Isabel Livesey, Helena Samarasinghe and Carla Novakovic.  Isabel got the team underway with a very fast 11,26 and handed over to Helena in third place.  Helena closed the gap and Carla began her leg in 2nd place.  At this stage, there was much speculation as to how much Carla had left in the tank after already playing a full football match that morning.  However, she rounded the final bend already in the lead and stretched it out with her trademark sprint finish, to bring the team home in first place.  A fantastic performance by all three girls who finished with the 3rd (Isabel), 4th (Helena) and 5th (Carla) fastest legs in the U17 girls event.

A few weeks later and it was on to the faded grandeur of the Crystal Palace athletics stadium as the venue for the South of England road relays that began and finished on the home straight, but also took in a long uphill climb in the first half, followed by a fast downhill finish.  It also become clear that the course wasn’t 3k but only 2.7k so everyone needed to make sure they didn’t get their pacing wrong.

This was a much bigger event for the runners to experience with 50 teams or more in every age group.  We had an U15 boys team (4x3k), an U15 girls team (3x3k) and the now famous U17 girls team (also 3x3k).   With some of the runners from the Hillingdon event lost to their Sunday league football teams, we had a new line up for the boys.  Aidan Aherne made a quick start in 9,07, followed by Akash Sohal, Josh Poncia and then Delan Connolly bringing the team home in a total time of 39,15, to take 21st out of 44 complete teams and 90 seconds ahead of local rivals, Ranelagh!

The U15 girls also had a changed line up, lead out by Grace Bowden Stone in 10,30, Imogen Deakin running second leg in 10,54 and Ella Fryer this time running the final leg in 10,20.  The girls finished a creditable 22nd out of 61 complete teams.

The final SMRAC team to run on what was a beautiful warm, sunny afternoon was, once again, the U17 girls running in their now regular team order of Isabel, Helena and Carla.  There were some very fast individual performances in other teams but once again the girls showed themselves to be a well-balanced line up, with only 7 seconds between Helena in 10,29, Isabel in 10,31 and Carla in 10,36.  They were rewarded with a very good 12th place out of 37th complete teams.

All three teams can be very proud of their efforts, finishing well up the field against some tough competition from across the South of England, with St Mary’s being one of the smallest of the clubs represented at the events.

This weekend, another group of teams travel up to Birmingham for the national relays – good luck to them.  Hopefully we will see many of those who have been involved in these road relays lining up at Claybury for the first Met League later this month, when the proper running gets underway!

Match Report MET League Ally Pally Cross Country 11th February

Wow…..what a great season. Large numbers in the younger age groups turning out and some fantastic running from the seniors has made this season a memorable one.

To run these events is challenging enough what with the good old English weather doing its best to stop you lot, but come rain or……rain you have turned out to represent your club and I am very proud of you all for this. It makes my job a hell of a lot easier when you arrive smiling before and…….mostly after each and every race.

The weather was at its worst for some time on Saturday. With the temperature not rising above 2 deg and sleet, rain and wind doing its best to destroy morale, it was great to see a good turnout to end the season on such a good note.

Starting St. Marys off were fine runs by two under 11s, followed by U13s, U15s and SM and SW.

The full results can be found on but I wanted to mention how well the U13 boys and girls have done this season. Managing a minimum of 4 runners in most races, it’s shown was quality we have coming through the club.

The overall standings for the year ended with the U13 boys finishing 4th overall out of 27 teams. An amazing achievement I’m sure you’ll agree. The U13 girls again out of 23 teams finished well up the leader board in 5th place. This is a great testament to the middle distance and endurance coaches at the club who train these youngsters week in week out.

Boys / Girls U11s

Charlie Brook and Harriet Wiltshire, both running the difficult 1.5k loop produced excellent runs between them. With Charlie struggling with a sore ankle he finished strongly running through the line into 15th position. Harriet producing a strong debut race finishing 19th and a magnificent 5th female.


Boys U13s

After a good warm up and with team photos taken it was down to Dominic Rhodes and Jonny Brook, both with a fantastic cross country season now behind them worked through the field for two laps of this wet and fast becoming muddy course. Dominic settling down on the first lap with the leading group and Jonny tucked in behind him, both ran very composed and confident races and with a fine push at the end finished the season in 5th position (Dom) and 7th position (Jonny) respectively. Both posing for photos afterwards I am sure as they step up to the next age group next year they will have nothing to fear. Great run guys…….


Girls U13s

With four girls on the start line Monica Deakin, Jemima Bentley and Evie Woolman and recently joined Ruby Newell, all took to the line in a pack together. Working hard throughout the race all the girls climbed places and with a strong battle towards the end of the second loop to the finish, they all ran in within 10 places of one another. Positions on the day were Monica 28th, Jemima 29th, Ruby 33rd and Evie 37th. A fantastic battle by all the girls and a big well done from me……


Boys U15s/U17s

It was Joshua Poncia who after helping me set the Gazebo up, was the first of the upper age group youngsters to tackle the dreaded Ally Pally hill. With a long steep climb of 75m and a sharp turn left / right upto the Palace, Joshua worked hard and was rewarded with 36th and 25th position age grade. As an U15 at the lower end of the age group racing against U17s its been a good learning curve and will certainly help his track season no doubt come April. Well done mate…


Girls U15s/U17s

Imogen Deakin and Helena Samarasinghe always race well together and Saturday was no exception. Again like Joshua, having to climb the Ally Pally hill and racing U17s also, both ran very very good races and with positions changing over the two laps it was difficult to call who would come out on top on this occasion. Upto the finish line first Imogen had the edge running into 17th and 9th position for her grade. Helena just outside the top ten but neither the less another good run by her to finish 21st and 12th age grade. Its been a pleasure to cheer you on this year girls…..


Senior Women

Once again flying the flag for the women was Bryony Deakin who gave another steady performance. Finishing strongly and with the lure of a Met League towel handed out to all finishers ran into 56th position and 5th age grade out of a large field of 170. Thank you for all your hard work and efforts over the season…..


Senior Men

It’s scary how Darren Franks turned up and was looking forward to running 8k and climbing the hill 3 times….and he didn’t disappoint either. Running really well and finishing 259th and a brilliant 29th in age grade. Time to throw away those cross country spikes now and buy yourself a pair for the track, I am looking forward to many great runs this season from you ha ha …. no pressure there then!!


Photos on the day can be found on Twitter @smrac1


Given the great performances by all, I’d like to express my thanks to all for turning up and competing.


I am now off for a rest…….but will still be around the club and supporting you all throughout the track season.

Take care all…….






Club Website:

Club Tweet: @SMRAC1

Personal Tweet: @KerryDougP







Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY



The timetable for day is as follows, race distances and age groups are:

12.45 1.5km Under 11’s (over 9 mixed race)
12.55 3Km Under 13 Boys
13.00 3Km Under 13 Girls
Not before 13.20 4Km Under 17 Men/Under 15 Boys
Not before 13.25 4Km Under 17 Women/Under 15 Girls
Not before 13.55 6Km Women/Veteran Women
Not before 14.35 8Km Men/Veteran Men

Please arrive minimum of 1hr before your race to ensure collection of number / pins, warm up and race preparation / walk the course.



Hills Hills and more Hills!…..and soft underfoot throughout.

If it’s raining bring your wellies!!


Car Parking

On course The Paddock Car Park situated in Ally Pally.


Problems getting there?

If you think you may have a problem getting to the venue on the day please contact me by email Tuesday 7th Feb. I can then ask / organize lifts if available or offered.


Many thanks

Doug Poncia


Club Website:
Club Tweet: @SMRAC1

Personal Tweet: @KerryDougP

Mobile on the day: 07787113764

Match Report MET League Trent Park Cross Country 14th January

Match Report MET League Trent Park Cross Country 14th January


Possibly the worst week of weather to prepare for a cross country and a cold wet, sleeting morning saw only a handful of runners turn up to race for SMRAC. With great facilities, fine sunshine breaking through on a cold but clear day, those that made the 50min trip were returned with an excellent cross country course which I believe was the hardest yet for some time. With hills to finish and twists and turns throughout this really did test our athletes but they all performed superbly on the day.


Hosted by Trent Park club, and a return to the calendar this fixture didn’t disappoint.


Thanks as usual to Peter Crews for turning up and marshalling on the day, and staying late once the runners had finished to help with last minute packing up duties. Also to Joshua Poncia returning from illness who travelled to assist with the setup on the day, number distribution and general support to all on the course.


Boys / Girls U11s

No runners!


Boys U13s

A highly competitive race and with SMRAC challenging well, Dominic Rhodes 8th, Louis Cummings 18th, Jonny Brook 21st repeating their finishing order from the scrubs, producing excellent performances fighting to the last hill to gain every place they could. I am super proud of these guys for consistently running so well.


Girls U13s

With four girls on the start line Ella Fryer, Monica Deakin, Jemima Bentley and Evie Woolman, they all worked very hard throughout. Ella finishing again in the top 10 in 8th, with Monica chasing here down hard to finish 15th. Met League first timers Jemima and Evie did brilliantly and I suspect a bit of team running was had with a respectable 34th and 35th place finish for them both. So great to see new runners and I hope to see you two at Ally Pally J


Boys U15s/U17s

No runners!


Girls U15s/U17s

U15s girls race was a close one and with just two running they both enjoyed a close fought battle. Helena Samarasinghe pulling away at the end to a fine 10th place overall and a superb 5th in U15 age group. Imogen Deakin carried on her fine season and followed closely in 16th overall and 11th place in the U15 age group. Superb running by both.


Senior Women

Once again flying the flag for the women was Bryony Deakin who gave the performance of the day to finish 63rd out of 193 athletes. Not only that she came 3rd in her age group. A brilliant 6k run and smile for the camera on route, it was a pleasure to cheer you on.


Senior  Men

Lastly another huge field of men took to the start line over 400. Positions on the day in this 8k slog were, Ross Franks home in 169th, followed by his dad Darren Franks in 289th (26th V45), Jim Buckle 295th (26th V50), Ashley Grist 388th (44th V50) and Jon Crews 415th (46th V45). Great runs by all and I thank you for making the effort on the day, its very much appreciated.


All results can be found here


Photos on the day can be found on Twitter @smrac1


Given the great performances by all, I’d like to express my thanks to all for turning up and competing.


I look forward to seeing you at the next last fixture of the year at Ally Pally on the 11th Feb.


We only require four per team to score so please coaches/parents and athletes, build on the success of todays racing  meet and where possible try and compete.


I’d like to wish any athletes running in the Middlesex, Surrey schools, the southern good luck.