1 ROBBIE BUGDEN – Robbie is still not quite back to the form that earned him selection for the GB U23 team at the European cross-country championships a couple of years ago and had to be satisfied with a top 50 (47th) rather than the top 25 position he achieved then in this year’s European cross trial race at Liverpool. Even so – ankle permitting – time is on his side as regards preparation for the major championship events after Christmas.
2 ANDY CHAMBERS – Andy turned in another more than respectable performance in his current comeback following his three years in the injury wilderness when he finished a close third in the gruelling Castle Drogo 10 mile race – a mere 18 secs behind Thames’ international marathon runner James McFarlane.
3 NATHAN YOUNG – Nathan, who of course is still a junior, continued his low key approach to the winter season by finishing a clear second to Taunton senior Larry Scott in the annual tough Brent Knoll 5.5M multi-terrain race, while his younger brother Kieran also made the top six in 5th place.
1= IMOGEN AINSWORTH and KATE GOODHEAD – I did not want to split these two as they both produced their best ever performances to finish in the top 20 at the European cross-country trials that attracted all Britain’s leading distance runners. This has been something of a bogey race for both of them, yet Kate ended up a very creditable 17th, with Imo just five seconds back in 19th place. I have named Imo first as Kate’s recent form suggested she could certainly finish that high, whereas Imo’s elevation follows the continued progress she has been making this autumn. She even improved another notch on her fine third place in the previous weekend’s BMC 4K Classic on the Downs by reversing positions with Army international Sophie Morris, who had held off her late challenge on the run-in then, but finished 10secs in arrears at Liverpool. More significantly of course Imo was 5th of the U23 runners and as a result earned selection for the European championships next weekend in Portugal. Such an achievement was almost certainly not on her personal radar at the beginning of the season, but it’s the due reward for all the hard work and dedication she puts into her training together with the support and encouragement of her coach Keith. We all wish her luck next week. She really does deserve it.
2= REBEKAH RANDELL and KATIE KNOWLES – Rebekah has been struggling recently to match her fine form last season mainly as a result of several interruptions to her training programme due to illness, but still managed to make the top 25 even if she was more than half a minute down on our leading pair, which is still no mean effort. Katie, who was only two places behind Rebekah in 27th position, could feel well satisfied with this her step up to the senior trial for the first time, having been in the junior GB team that won the European title last year. With her injury problems now hopefully behind her she is clearly coming on with every race.
3 DEBBIE NICCOL – Debbie, who is living in London now, smashed her previous personal best by more than a minute in last Friday’s Serpentine 5K in Hyde Park, breaking 18mins for the first time to win the race from American Maria McConaughey in 17:53.
1 HOBIE MARTIN – Hobie, who is only just 16, chose to go up an age group and contest the U20 junior trial at Liverpool to give him experience of what is required for future years, and in what was a very high standard race he again underlined his potential by making the top 40. Finishing right on the heels of Stroud runner Rob Galt, he was little more than a minute down on the last runner nominated for next weekend’s championships.
2 ZAK TOBIAS – Zak, who like Hobie is also a first year U17, stuck with his own age group and also did well to finish within a minute of a top three position in 26th place. He had the added satisfaction of finishing just ahead of another Stroud rival Aaron Phelps, who had finished runner-up to Hobie in the previous week’s BMC U17 championship.
3 ALEX KING – To finish 56th, as Alex did in the same U17 race, may not appear to be anything to write home about, but he was less than 50secs behind Zak such was the high standard of the competition, and it was a clear step up on his effort in the previous week’s BMC race.
1 ANNABEL GUMMOW – While predictably not yet quite in the form she demonstrated at the end of last season when as a 16 year old she finished an eye-catching 30th for the GB team in the World U20 cross-country championships, Annabel still did more than enough to gain selection for next week’s European championships by finishing a clear 6th in the U20 trial race at Liverpool. If anything the standard in the age group is even tougher this year, with a whole crop of outstanding young U17 athletes making their mark, three of them including Annabel earning selection for Portugal. As for Annabel’s chances her main priority no doubt is next year’s World championships, but this race will have brought her on and she can be expected to go even better next week. Like Imo we all wish her the best of luck.
2 OLIVIA SADLER – Olivia continued her relentless progress under coach Dave Taylor’s tutelage by producing what was possibly her best ever cross-country performance by finishing an impressive 6th in the U17 age group event – a mere 16 secs away from a place on the podium. Well done!
3=HANNAH ALDERSON and ANNIKA JARMAN = Hannah knew she only had an outside chance of challenging for a place in the U20 GB team, but still ran well to finish within 20secs of a top ten place in 14th position just over half a minute down on Annabel who took the last place in the team. Behind her Annika too deserves a special mention as she surprised a few by finishing only just outside the top 20 in 22nd place no more than 25secs down on Hannah to underline just what an asset she is going to be to our U20 team in next year’s National cross-country championships.
There is no record of any performances this week.
MIKE DOWN (3-12-10)