Ali’s army battle through the mud to ensure a well deserved 12th team position.
The day started really well with a straightforward journey to the venue plus arriving in plenty of time which is a team manager’s dream.Sorting-out nine lads with numbers and chips on arrival is not my favourite moment. However the more we do it the more efficient we may become! For most of the lads this was their first experience at National level and I am sure they will always remember it.The course was a true test of stamina and well done to all nine who made it to the finish in one piece, plus both shoes still attached. Finishing twelfth out of a total of 48 teams was a great performance and a big improvement on last year when the team finished twenty-second).
The day was not without its moments as just as we were about to make a quick get away the PA asked for Jay Akbar to report to the information point. Unbeknown to Jay he had dropped his wallet containing £16 and some good person had handed it in. It was Jay’s lucky day. After the usual fast food stop on the way home we arrived back in good time and good humour.
Next year the National will be at Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath on Saturday 24th February. This is my favourite venue but it will be just as tough, so you have been warned.
Rufus THOMAS (34) was experiencing his first National and needs to be pleased with this solid run especially as be just beat fellow triathlete Rhys Ashton who won the British Triathlon age group championship last year. Next to finish for the team was Joe MEAD (79) who, having missed most of last year’s cross-country season due to injury, made a remarkable comeback finishing just 23 seconds behind Rufus. Aidan OSCROFT (132) was clearly having a much improved race from last year when he finished (247). Over the last 2 years Aidan has run for the team at every championship event proving what a great club athlete he is.
Waiting for our final team scorer to finish is always an anxious time for me especially as I am never quite sure who it may be, but once again it was Cole EDMONDS (229) who just got the better of Jay AKBAR (249). Cole is still finding his feet having been rather out of sorts with sickness last weekend so well done for just getting on with it. Jay always seems to be the bridesmaid but this time last year he was not even a member of the club and he always provides a solid back up which every successful team needs.
This race was a baptism of fire for the younger lads and Joseph HULL (367) did well to stay on his feet and after another year of training he will be well prepared to tackle Parliament Hill. Amos KINGSTON (411) is also young in the age group and was clearly having the time of his life as the photos suggest. This is a great example to any younger boys who may be a bit apprehensive. Just grin like Amos. Unlike last year Jacob ROE (420) finished with both shoes on. Clearly his incident on a trampoline last week failed to stop him running with far more confidence this year. This was also Henry GODFREE’s (456) first National and the deal was not to finish last, so running very tactically he managed to finish nearly 5 minutes ahead of the last lad over the line.
Thank you to everybody who played their part to make this such a rewarding day for everybody. Many of these lads will be moving on to under-15s next season and if they can remember to train together, to race together and with a bit of luck they will win together.