The first race at the Midland Cross-Country Championships held at Prestwold Hall on Saturday 28th January 2017 was the Under-13 Boys. On paper this was a very strong team consisting of 9 lads who I felt would rise to the occasion. It was all about what colour the medal would be. Luckily once the race finished we did not have to wait long for official clarification that Rufus Thomas had won the individual bronze and along with Joe Mead, Aidan Oscroft and Cole Edmonds the team had won gold by a significant margin.
This wonderful result more than made up for my unfortunate start to the day having left the Bakewell tart in Clevedon and then arriving to pick up Joseph Hull to find he could not get out of his locked front door. Thankfully he managed to emerge from the back of his house. How relieved I was when everybody boarded the mini bus and off we went.
With quite a sharp turn soon after the start I asked the faster lads to be brave and get out quickly once the starting gun had fired. This seemed to work as Rufus THOMAS (3rd in 12:40) soon appeared well positioned towards the front of the race. Running a great tactical race with 300 metres to go he moved up from fifth to third position finishing just 8 seconds behind the winner.
Not far behind, Joe MEAD (10th in 12:54) was also having the race of his life, clearly determined to make up for his unfortunate race on this course last year which resulted in long term injury. He continues to improve with each race and I am sure the his best is yet to come.
The third team member in was Aidan OSCROFT (24th in 13:28) who showed great form at the Avon Schools race last weekend but was slightly under par on this muddy course. I am sure Aidan will turn it around at the next fixture so everyone else beware.
I would never like to call it between Cole EDMONDS (28th in 13:39) and Jay AKBAR (34th in 13:49) but on the day Cole just got the edge but it was nip and tuck all the way around. Fighting for that last place in the team and a medal always makes for competitive racing. The strength of the team is such that Jay would have still been part of the winning team should Cole have not finished. Both these lads show solid commitment to training and deserve success.
Competing in his first major championship Joseph HULL (66th in 15:07) ran a solid race bearing in mind that he still has next year in this age group. After a very successful school race last week Joseph is racing himself fit and is waiting for a possible call up for the South-West schools next weekend.
Jacob ROE (69th in 15:14) first competed for the club at this event exactly a year ago and what a different athlete. Keeping a careful eye on Joseph certainly worked and provided Jacob can keep both spikes on at the National cross-country this year he will be pleased with his progress.
Bottom of the age group Amos KINGSTON (79th in 15:37) clearly enjoys being part of the gang. He always has a smile on his face and I must have blinked at the wrong moment therefore missing his amazing finishing speed. I think there is probably a lot more in the tank.
I felt for Henry GODFREE (91st in 19:01) who unfortunately left his spikes at home. This was not the sort of course to experiment with trainers so well done for staying on your feet. Henry also has another year in this age group so plenty of time to sort the foot wear out.
The journey home consisted of cakes courtesy of Jay’s mum, lots of happy banter, the usual odours consistent with young lads and an emergency pit stop. However we did manage to get back ahead of time and thank you parents for accommodating this.
So onwards and upwards the National Cross-Country will be a challenge but if you can all keep well and fit, with some fine tuning the future looks very exciting.
Well done to all.
Alison Hurford Reports