Well… we just about squeezed in the final races of Cross Country before Ciara hit. This was the only racing of the weekend, but some great performances nonetheless. Lloyd Park held up its reputation as a set Sam Mendes would be proud of. Slightly more genteel conditions in Richmond Park. All followed by a well-earned curry party on Saturday evening.
Men’s Season and Final Race at Lloyd Park
This season has been significantly, and consistently, better than last. In no small part, this has been down to consistently high turn-outs, and the consistent presence of racers who can achieve a top 30 finish.
The men started the season on a high, coming 2nd amongst the A Teams at Richmond Park, and with a top placed B Team! Over the next two races, our A Team suffered a bit of a descent. Epsom & Ewell battled it out, at a pace, with top placed Walton AC, whilst Dorking & Mole Valley and Kingston & Poly squeezed ahead of us from below. At the end of the third race we were in 5th place in the League. The B Team story was much better. We held a tough challenge from Epsom & Ewell to stay in a very close second!
So, came our final race in the ever muddy Lloyd Park, Croydon. Although we had our second lowest turn-out (24 runners), a strong complement of fast runners gave us a valuable edge, with Charlie Elliott, Euan Lees, and James Nellany all appearing in the top 20 finishers!
The full field included: Alexie Calvert-Ansari; Craig Rutherford; Eddie Dole; Freddie Skarbek; Jonathan Furuya; Jose Lopez; Joseph Croft; Keiran Allen; Laurent Gibbs; Mark Benton; Peter Moore; Richard Bridger; Richard Harper; Rob Carder; Sean Clancy; Stephen Flexer; Tim How; Will Manns; and, Xavier Faux.
Our A Team – Charlie; James; Euan; Freddie; Alexie; Xavier; Will; Mark; Richard H; and, Keiran – finished in 4th place, some way off 3rd placed rivals Dorking & Mole, but well ahead of Kingston.
The B Team – Jonathan; Craig; Tim; Sean; Jose; Joseph; No. 364 (no name); Rob; Stephen; and, Richard B – finished in 2nd place, within catching distance of Dorking and well ahead of Epsom!
All this means we finished a great season with a 4th placed A Team and a 2nd placed B team overall in the League!!
Some epic running by all!
We had some fast performances by Charlie Elliott, James Ellis, Borja Portos, and John Borton. However, only one of our fast runners completed all 4 races, and that was James Nellany, our Cross Country King!
The other 6 club members to turn up to all 4 races this season were: Alexie Calvert-Ansari; Keiran Allen; Mark Benton; Peter Moore; Richard Harper; and, Stephen Flexer! Great work – and, if you didn’t collect it at the curry, I believe there should be a bottle of wine somewhere for you!
Of course, no Cross Country season would be complete without the dynamic Xavier Faux, who continued his record of scoring in every race he’s done – despite only being able to do the final 3 events this year!
It’s noticeable that all the names mentioned in the last few paragraphs are old hands. Next season it would be great to see some new faces. Cross Country is great – even I do it sometimes – and one or two races in the season will neither disrupt your other training nor show you up for being slow. It helps the club and you get to be part of the Ful-on Tri family, rather than just paying for training!
Brilliant work from Mark Benton again this season. Not only for organising all the races and numbers, but also ensuring we had a great send-off at the end of season curry this weekend!
Women’s Season and Final Race at Richmond Park
For the women, this season has been a tough one. Running in a top Division was never going to be easy, however, losing many of our fast runners to injury etc made life even harder. Despite this, we had some good turn-outs – never less than 18, and a whopping 32 in race 3!
The women started the season in a tough position, with the A team finishing last, whilst the B team fared better in 10th. Over the next two races, those initial positions started to feel locked in, with the B team even eventually losing their 10th place to rivals Epsom & Ewell. However, this masked a strong and steady A squad – gradually closing in on the nearest 3 clubs – Epsom, Reigate and Dulwich. At the end of the 3rd race our A Team had a fighting chance of avoiding relegation. To do this, we would have to place at least 2-3 runners in those elusive top 30 spots and beat Epsom.
The B Team had a different challenge at the end of race 3. Having sunk to 11th, they were single digits away from reclaiming 10th place, but at some risk from lower placed Woking and Ranmore.
Bring on the final in Richmond Park. Running on home territory, and close to home, should have been a boost to the club – and it certainly generated a good turnout: 27, our second highest of the season. We also had the benefit of Paula Rutherford’s return from injury. She stamped her authority on this last race, finishing in 8th place – our only top 30 position of the season!
The full field included: Alex Courage; Beatrice Carlini; Camilla Rogers; Caroline Roden; Catherine Spurin; Cheryl Boshi; Chloe Farrar; Christina Archer (CJ); Edwina Chung; Eimear Toomey; Emma Swinnerton; Eszter Szadeczky-Kardoss; Eve Ryan; Francesca Hunt; Gina Siebler; Katie Holmes; Katie McCreadie; Krista Kojecky; Merilee Karr; Nicky Huskens; Rebecca Bradbury; Sian Morgan; Stefanie Woodward; Sybille Schorm; Ursula Hankinson; and, Victoria Carter.
Our A Team – Paula; CJ; Ursula; Victoria; and, Krista – finished in a strong 9th place – our best position of the season, and two points away from snatching 8th!
In true empathetic style, our B team – Eve; Caroline; Alex; Katie H; and, Sian – also came 9th – just losing out on 8th to rivals Epsom & Ewell, but well ahead of Stragglers in 10th – also our best result of the season!!
This late surge in performance was, sadly, a little too late. Whilst the B team finished the season with a well earned 10th place, our 14th placed A team result unfortunately means we move down a division next season. Interestingly, our closest Triathlon rivals – Clapham Chasers – nearly topped both A and B team tables – so perhaps we can encourage a friendly bit of club transferring (they already have had the benefit of some ex-FOTers).
Strong running by everyone that helped mount the valiant Division 1 defence. And I’m sure the experience can only stand us in excellent stead in Division 2!
Aside from Paula, our 5 fastest runners were CJ, Jayne Edwards, Olivia Ross-Hurst, Ursula, and Victoria Carter. However, none of them managed to complete all 4 races. Rather uniquely for a Cross Country season, we only had one person doing all 4 events – and that was Sybille Schorm!! (Again, there should be a bottle of wine somewhere!) So, somewhere within that mix the Cross Country queen title is shared out.
The other special mention (as on the curry night) should go to our new Events Director, Gina Siebler, who just missed out on completing all 4 races, but regularly fitted them in to her own training programme – with park runs and cycling on the same day! With more of this can do attitude, we will conquer Division 2 in no time!
Great to see plenty of new faces in the Women’s squads. Please do pencil Cross Country into your calendars for next season!!
Lastly, well done to Sarah La Hausse and Stephanie Wise for organising our racers for this season – another cracking job!!
And that’s it for racing news for another week!
Do please check out the calendar of events and races on the Ful-on Tri website. If a race is there and you’ve entered it then add your name to share that fact with the rest of the club. If you can’t see your race then email me and I will add it. For more info go to Race – Racing for All and click on the YouTube link.
Upcoming club races to be aware of:
- The first TT race is on 1st March at Knowle Hill. Let Phil Roker know if you want to take part!
- The first London League race – March Madness Duathlon – takes place at the Olympic Park on 8th March – probably not too late to enter – and we only score points in all categories if we have at least 3 men and 2 women!
- This will be followed by the next London League race – The Mad Hatter Duathlon – sensing a theme of madness here – in Hyde Park on 19th April!
- Club sprint championships at Crystal Palace, also a London League race, is on 17th May
- Club Olympic championships at Thorpe Park, also a London League race, is on 12th July
Also, if you’re looking to do a first triathlon this season, check out the Thames Turbo series at Hampton Open Air Pool. They are fantastic non-wetsuit Sprint events. The first one (also a London League event) is on 8th May.
As usual, additions, omissions and queries, please email [email protected]
Have a great week!