Alis army certainly rose to the occasion for the Gwent League Cross-Country held at Blaise Castle on Saturday 3rd December 2016. We had great strength in numbers with a total of 22 athletes taking part. As is usual at this time of year some chaps were recovering from winter colds and others were clearly about to succumb to one. Plus the winter academic term is starting to take its toll but at least the weather was on our side. I am hopeful that due to every athlete’s contribution the long awaited results will show some improvement in our overall position in the league.
Leader of the pack was Sam Stevens (17) who was running in his second race and clearly has lots of potential, charging in to the finish keeping clear of Fred Cummins (25} who is very determined to finish in the top 20 next time. Showing no ill effects from his heavy cold last week Ishmael Bradley (30) ran another fine race and his commitment to regular training is paying off. Our final scorer for the A team was Zachary Roe (37) who was being chased all the way by Josh Lewis (40) who showed what a talent he is especially when both shoes stay on.
To prove that age is no barrier Ronnie Elmont (60) was probably one of the youngest lads in the race and having joined the group only this week his performance has to be applauded.
Harry Constable (71) could not repeat his fine performance from last time due to a bad attack of stitch but he carried on valiantly as always. While Rio Dutton(78), taking part in his first race, heeded my instructions finishing in fine form and looking as if he enjoyed himself. Likewise another first timer Alex Robertson (83) stuck to the task and by the next fixture will be a lot more confidence in his own ability.
Competing in his first Gwent league Rufus Thomas (4) was in unknown territory but he ran a very mature race and at my request did not lead the race out but stuck in behind the leaders. Next time he can be more challenging along with Aidan Oscroft (9) who ran a fine race and is now clearly over his brief illness. Perhaps the most pleasing performance came from Joe Mead (14) who due to injury has been off the scene since last February. He clearly has not lost any of his competitive spirit so welcome back Joe. The competition for the final place in the A team is always exciting and I would never like to bet on it and this time Cole Edmonds(19) who missed the last race due to illness ran strongly to close the team in from Beck Harding-Hill (21) who took his duties of captain for the day very seriously and was a great help with the warm up and motivating the lads prior to the race.
Jay Akbar (27) ran a very honest race considering he was not feeling 100% and I hope by next Sunday he will be feeling much better in time for the county champs at Bath.
Both Joseph Hull (40) and Amos Kingston (46) who are young in the age group ran very promising races and it was good to see Amos really having a go and looking out of breath at the end.
The Bristol vests were now coming in thick and fast so Jacob Roe (50) with another consistent run was first in for the C team followed by Ben Williams (60) who was lucky to make the fixture due to transport problems but lucky for him Joe Mead’s mum came to the rescue just in time. Well done Ben for keeping your cool.
Henry Godfree (69) and Alex Kennedy (71) appear to have kept each other going putting the world to right on the way around and with the finish in sight Henry turned on his Usain finish just for good show. Both lads are at the start of their under-13 career and will improve over the next year.
With 13 boys running someone had to be the thirteenth boy in for the club so this was unlucky for Vinnie Williams (72) bringing up the rear but looking in good fettle as he ran proudly into the finish.
The next fixture is on either Saturday 11th or Sunday 12th February 2017 with the date and venue to be confirmed. Please try and commit to this race and remember your team needs you.
Any offers for next under-13 team captain let me know.
Ali Hurford Reports.