Emma Withers reports on the u15 and u17 efforts at Mansfield
Saturday saw us drive the 154 miles to Berry Hill Park, Mansfield for the Saucony National XC relays. With a depleted under 17 team, but the full compliment of u15’s we headed off on the coach leaving the high winds and pouring rain in Bristol. The rain followed us to Mansfield, but despite England Rugby’s disappointing defeat we were not deterred. 13 boys huddled in the Bristol and West tent for shelter, waiting for the start of the u17 race at 12.40pm.
The course was already very churned up by the time our A leg runners set off. A busy start with much pushing and shoving saw Rufus Thomas (10.07) lead us out. This his first time at this event and first year u17, coming over the line in 43rd position and handing over to Jay Akbar in 76th place (11.45). Jay found the conditions under foot challenging handing over to third leg runner Lewis Adamson (11.52). Lewis, running a steady race and overtaking several runners, finished 65th overall and feeling pleased with his performance. Otto Kingston also headed out on the A leg, running for a time, finishing in 11.47, pleased to have reached the finish line.
The u15 boys, followed at 1.30pm into what was turning into a mud-fest, the rain did not let up. Our A runners, Joseph Hull (8.12), Amos Kingston (8.06) and Ollie Robertson Kurd (8.53) set off. Although there were several fallers at the start of this race, luckily this time, all the Bristol and West boys managed to stay on their feet. Amos, first home, in 94th position, followed by Joseph 98th and Ollie 115th. Our B runners waited in the pen, Eoin O Halloran (7.55), took a sliding tumble just before the finish line, but back on his feet finished in 70th place. Fred Cummins feeling determined, (8.29) and Jacob Franklin, in his distinctive hi viz shorts and socks, (9.12), 82nd and 102nd respectively. Our C runners having the longest wait in the cold and wet conditions, Misha Evans (8.09), 56th place, Tomek Czerepinski (8.44) 73rd, Alex Robertson, (9.45) 85th place. This was Alex’s first race back racing since breaking his ankle at the Westbury Wipeout. All still smiling at the end and although not posting their fastest times this year, seeming to have enjoyed the race.
A team, 56th, B Team, 73rd and C Team 85th overall.
I am not sure our bus driver was too pleased to have such a muddy and bedraggled crew back on his bus, but we hopefully took most of the mud home with us!
A massive well done to all the boys who made the journey to Mansfield in what proved to be the most challenging conditions for us this season so far. I hope the weather is kinder to us in Pembrey Country Park next week.