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Marilyn proves a challenge! – 11 November 2017

Ian Kennedy reports from Hampshire League XC at Petersfield

Jess looks apprehensive; the radio mast in the distance is a long way up!

This is the first time we’ve competed at Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield.  We weren’t really too sure what to expect, but I don’t think we were expecting what we got!  Scotland has its Munros (mountains over 3000ft) and England has its Marilyns (mountains or hills over 150m).  Butser Hill, which the senior men had to ascend three times during their race, easily qualifies as a Marilyn, being 271m.  An annual fell run takes place here that also includes climbing the hill three times, and the term ‘fell running’ better summed up this Hampshire League meeting rather than the more usual ‘cross-country’.  A walk of the course led to a debate on whether this was the toughest cross-country race we’d ever seen.  Despite very little mud, the consensus was that this was indeed a tougher challenge than the mighty Parliament Hill!  There was a demanding climb, and on the descent you needed to be courageous.

So to the races, we started off with the under-11s.  Evie Fuller and Archie Cunningham were our athletes here.  Only a week earlier they’d run in what I believe to be the hardest under-11s race of all (at Yeovil), and once again they were stepping up to the plate to face another big challenge.  They’re made of the right stuff and both were equal to the challenge they’d accepted.

Under-11 girls (43 finishers)

33 – Evie Fuller – 7:12

Under-11 boys (65 finishers)

40 – Archie Cunningham – 6:13
 

The numbers of WACers competing throughout all the age-groups, except the under-15 boys, was less than we might have hoped for.  Our sole entrant in the under-13 girls’ race was Sarah Graham.  Sarah put in a fine performance to claim 12th.  She’s competed in both Hampshire League races so far and finds herself currently sitting in the top 10 in the league averages.

Under-13 girls (70 finishers)

12 – Sarah Graham – 13:00
 

In the under-13 boys’ category, Tristan Green is having a cracking rookie season.  We saw another fine run here, where he claimed 21st in a field of 76, despite having major issues with grip.

Under-13 boys (76 finishers)

21 – Tristan Green – 12:28
 

Unfortunately we were one runner shy of a team score for the under-15 girls’ race.  However, the two runners we did have absolutely flew around.  The race was won by Salisbury’s Bea Wood, and it was WAC’s Emily Shaw who was closest in pursuit of her; Emily was almost 30 seconds ahead of third place.  When resolve and commitment are called for Holly Nixon never disappoints, she rose to the challenge that this course presented to claim 11th.

Under-15 girls (48 finishers)

2 – Emily Shaw – 13:18
11 – Holly Nixon – 14:23
 

The spirit in our under-15 boys’ team this year is tremendous.  Once again they were out in good numbers, despite losing Joel Green to illness on race morning.  Accumulatively they achieved a team score of 33, a huge advance on the team score of 70 they recorded in the first Hampshire League race of the season.  Ben Martin and Seth Lake were both top 10 finishers; they ran in close formation for the whole race and only two seconds separated them at the end.  Tom Fuller’s improving form continued and he was our next runner home.  Charlie Davies and Ollie Rawles completed our line-up as they too rose to the challenge.

Under-15 boys (48 finishers) – 4th team

8 – Ben Martin – 12:39
9 – Seth Lake – 12:41
16 – Tom Fuller – 13:00
21 – Charlie Davies – 13:14
36 – Ollie Rawles – 14:14
 

We’ve had great numbers turn out for the under-17 women’s team this year so far, so it was a bit of surprise to see Beth Kingswell-Farr flying the flag for Wimborne, on her own, at Petersfield.  She was 29th on the flat course at King’s Park in race 1, and it was clear that the much tougher challenge of Butser Hill held no fear for her as she claimed 22nd here.

Under-17 women (37 finishers)

22 – Beth Kingswell-Farr – 15:29
 

In the women’s race too we were down to a single representative – Jess Kennedy.  It was a spirited performance, although the after effects were felt in the legs for a day or two afterwards.

Senior women (161 finishers)

126 – Jess Kennedy – 35:47
 

The final race was the longest of the day, and the toughest race we’ve seen in a league race that I can remember.  Kerry Mapp and Pete Kingswell-Farr both have experience of long distance multi-terrain races, but for Joey Kelliher, who’s only just moved into the men’s races this season, this was a new challenge and he rose to it.  Rarely have the three of them been so pleased to see that finish line!

Senior men (286 finishers)

60 – Joey Kelliher – 40:03
222 – Kerry Mapp – 51:26
230 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 52:16
 

Kerry and Pete have much to smile about having finished a challenging race

 

 

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