The endless sea of grim mud at the 2009 South of England Cross Country Championships hosted a glittering performance from our women's team as they missed out on gold medals by a single point. They were led home brilliantly by 21-year old Katherine Sparke who won the race by 24 seconds. A "first" was scored when her brother Ronnie won the under 20s race. It is believed to be the first time that siblings have won races at these championships. A decimated men's team nonetheless had 15 finishers and retained the Essex Cup for the fourth year in succession, but could only finish 10th in the main team race.