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!