On Saturday 13thOctober the 2018/2019 cross country season got underway at our home venue of Claybury. The unusually hot weather resulted in dry conditions and a day of fast racing as 480+ men took to the start line. After a delayed start our own David Hollingworth set us off and every green and white vested battled hard as we placed second, led home by a fine run from Ed Shepherd in fourth.
Results (scroll across and down)
Kevin Murphy (125th): something of a legend at Woodford
Ed missed this fixture last year, opting to run the Manchester half marathon, so we were pleased to hear he had this fixture on his radar. The leading group of athletes were closely packed together throughout the race, Ed finishing only 8" behind the overall race winner, Adam Kirk-Smith. This was a good start to his season and some strong results will no doubt follow. We did not have to wait long before our next man home crossed the finish line as second claimer Tom Frith finished in 5th. Tom was a very useful addition to our winter squad last season and has continued the good form which saw him place in the top 5 at this same fixture. A new addition to the team, Ramadan Osman, training partner of Angus Holford, made the journey down from Colchester to place 19th overall and our 3rd scorer. This was a promising result for the U23 who has made a name for himself on the Essex circuit and is looking to step up a level when he makes the longer journey up to Liverpool in November.
Three places adrift off Ramadan in 22nd was Tom Beedell who, as ever, ran a well-judged race and was pleased with his performance off low mileage. Darren Southcott was fifth man home, following Tom's heels for much of the first two laps before fading to finish in 34th. Sneaking inside the top 50, Daniel Steel was 49th, working well under conditions which suited the athletes who favour racing on the roads. Our next three men home saw former training partners from their junior days pack well and finish within 11" of each other. Alex Cornwell returned to racing, commenting that he had 'forgotten how much it hurts', with a solid 60th place finish, as personnel trainer Omar Mansour was 5" back in 64th. Omar has kept himself in good shape through his work over the last few years, and has never lost his racing legs as he worked well around the three-lap course. Tom Phillips was our 9th man home in 67th, the newly married man was fresh off the honeymoon plane and with a few more training runs in the legs will no doubt move up the field throughout the season.
Clocking the same time as Tom, Bertie Powell racked up another consecutive met league, in 68th. Bertie had tired legs having run a marathon only two weeks previously, so we know a rested Bertie will look for higher finishes as the season goes on. Harold Wyber came home next for 74th, a solid result for a man who has mixed his training up on the bike and over the fells of late. Another with a marathon in his legs, making his England debut in the marathon the week earlier was Simon Beedell. With very tired legs, Simon should be pleased with his 79th placing, closing out our scoring 12. This leaves us in 2nd place in the league, with Highate in our sights as we head to Welwyn Garden City to do battle again in November.
Opening the scoring for the B team and placing 125th was former Essex CC Champion Kevin Murphy. With various niggles having hampered his training over the past few years, this was a welcome return for Kevin, and the smile on his face displayed his joy at being back in a Woodford vest. Three places further back in 128th was Paul Scanlan, the trackman who decided to get his spikes dirty for an over-distance workout. Having recently returned from holiday, this was a solid result from Paul who only managed a couple of runs in the build-up. Pete Caton was 3rd man home for the B team. This was a good run from the Tomaz Plibersek-coached athlete, another runner who prefers firmer surfaces and shorter distances, who will grow stronger as the season progresses. Long-distance cyclist Tony Pamphilon was our next runner home in 204th, and first in the M60 category. No doubt still having hundreds of cycling miles in his legs from his trip over the summer, it was good to see Tony back on two legs rather than two wheels. V50 Paul Major finished our 6th B team scorer in 249th and 11th in his age category, with V55 Richard Holland 19 places further back in 268th, also placing well in his V55 age category with 8th. Alun Evans had a solid performance in 337th, followed home by two Woodies who could only be separated by 5", old rivals Andrew Coleman and Paul Stockings. Paul is quickly approaching his 150th Met League. Closing out the Woodford contingent was Tom Spanyol in 437th, and Roger Green in 447th, placing a very good second in his M70 age category.
This was a good performance by all and a strong start to the season. We would like to thank all the volunteers who helped organise and host this event and to Tom Phillips and David Hollingsworth who ran the bar in clubhouse post race. We now turn our attention to the next fixture as we look to cement our league position in the top two and hunt down early leaders Highgate!