Chiltern Cross Country League, Race 1, Oxford

With the track season now a distant memory, the endurance athletes of Northampton Athletic Club have moved quickly into the cross-country season. From flat tracks with the sun shining to hills and mud!

This year, NAC have entered the Chiltern League, based in the south Midlands, with five races being held in places such as Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton. The first race of the season was held in Oxford and following a horrendously wet week, we were expecting challenging conditions, however, the course stood up well and apart from a few boggy patches, it was good for running.

The big positive about this league is the fact that athletes of all ages compete on the same day at the same venue and so we were pleased to see green, black and gold vests being worn by a variety of athletes, all keen and eager to get stuck into whatever the course had to throw at them.

Not knowing what to expect or how NAC would fare in this new league, the day was a resounding success. Kicking the day off were the U11 races with some new athletes running their very first cross country races. The U13’s followed with top 20 finishes from Ella Darby and Olivia Willison. The team of 12 athletes placed 2ndoverall at the end of the day. The boys faired one better by winning their age category with Ollie Walls leading the charge in 14thfollowed by Nathan Lamb, Benjamin Westmorland-Alexander and Kai Scott. Both U13 teams had many more athletes competing for the club, all contributing to the overall team placings.

The U15s team was a slight reversal with the boys team finishing 5thand the girls going one better, finishing 4th. The front runners for the girls was Abigail Thayanithy in 30thand Flora Goatley in 32ndrespectively, with four further team members lead by Caitlin Reeves to bring the team home. The boys had five athletes all finishing within 10 places of each other. Dilane Nyangang was the first NAC vest to cross the line, very closely followed by Peter Van Uem, Ryan Croft, James Darby and Aidan McFadden. Joshua Robson and James Blomley were close behind completing a good team effort for the club.

A team of three U17 women finished in a very respectful 7thplace, with Isabelle Ripon leading the charge in 17thand supported by Elysia Lay and Isabel Haynes. The five man U17 men’s team finished in an amazing 3rdplace, with Matthew Blomley crossing the line in 15th, closely followed by Ben Willison, 18th, Isaac Cherrington, 19th, George Thompson 21stand Lewis Gibbs in 23rd.

The final races of the day were the men’s and woman’s U20s/Seniors/Masters races. Both teams were at a slight disadvantage, as neither had the full number of scoring athletes available on the day, although 7thin the ladies seniors and 15thin the veterans with only three ladies was a very good result. Rebecca Leadbeater finished in 10thplace and would have been higher had she not stopped to take her shoes and socks off due to very bad blistering on her heels, running 3k in bare feet. Barbara Willison ran her first race for the club finishing 21stwith Eden Bates completing the team in 38th out of a total field of 96. The 2-man team of Mark Haynes 91st, and Adam Alexander 113thhad the NAC team finishing in 21stand 17thin the senior men and veteran races respectively. Both these teams will benefit from the addition of several more athletes for the next round, not available for this first race of the season.

Overall, the day and the first race of the season in the Chiltern League was a huge success and a great deal of fun. Overall team scores were as follows:

  • Overall team score – 10th
  • Overall men’s team – 17th
  • Overall female team – 3rd
  • Seniors overall – 17th
  • Juniors overall – 3rd

Well done to all our athletes and bring on the next race at Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes on Saturday November 9th.