There was an excellent turnout at Bicester AC’s winter presentation evening on Friday 22nd March to laud what has been an excellent season of cross country and sportshall athletics.

It was a very good evening for the Gould family. Richard and Emma, who manage the cross country team, have presided over an incredible year of growth with record turnouts for training sessions and races. When they first took over cross country, Bicester were lucky to get half a dozen attending training sessions. This winter Bicester AC had an average of 50 youngsters attending sessions with 112 children attending at least one training session. Bicester also had two athletes, Tom Gould and James Minchin, who were selected for the Oxfordshire team that contested the inter county championships.

Once again Bicester AC organized the hightly successful Bicester primary schools cross country championships held in October which attracted over 500 competitors. Many of these runners went on to feature in the North Oxon partnership cross country race.

It was a difficult call for the female best performer of the season with Maisie Silvester, Molly Acton and Amy Gould enjoying fine seasons. However it was Gould who scooped the trophy for what has been unquestionably her best ever cross country season. She was Bicester’s only medalist in the Oxon Cross Country Championships and was Bicester’s highest finisher in the Oxford Mail League individual standings placing 4th. She was also a winner in the under 11 event children’s race held in conjunction with the Andy Reading 10km. Maisie Silvester had the consolation of scooping the best performance for an under 11 for her excellent 2nd placing in the Culham leg of the Oxford Mail Cross Country League.

The family double was completed as Tom Gould scooped the best boy performer award. He was the highest placed Bicester AC boy finisher in the Oxford Mail League Cross Country individual standings finishing 7th in his age group. He was also triumphant in the locally held Bicester Santa run as well as matching Amy in winning his age group race at the Andy Reading 10k.

As the Goulds would readily admit, Bicester’s success over the country this season has been a magnificent team effort, not only from coaches but many parents of children at the club. This was duly acknowledged as the Cox family were awarded the Bicester overall contribution award for the excellent assistance they have given in making this cross country season run so smoothly.

These awards not only recognise athletes who have already made it. For many athletes it is about the journey. And it was a double celebration for Lucy Stowell who was not only celebrating her birthday but also in receipt of the club’s most improved performer of the cross country season. This was on the back of a quite staggering improvement from start to finish in the Oxon Mail League as she improved a remarkable 28 places over the season placing 15th in the final race of the season.

Bicester’s success is built like so many clubs on the espirit de corps that exists within the ranks and the club member of the year awards are not awarded for just athletic achievement per se but enthusiasm, determination, and supporting others. Step forward Freddie Taylor who won the boy club members trophy and there were joint winners in the girl’s competition with Ellie Laurie and Erin Higgibotton collecting the award.

In sporthall athletics, Clyde Goodwin was able to report on Bicester AC’s best ever season. The boys and girls were victorious in collecting the combined under 11 and under 13 competition. The under 15 boys also collected the under 15 competition. There were several league records broken by Bicester athletes.

It was a great season from a training perspective with no less than 111 individuals coming through the doors during the winter. A record number of athletes collected gold certificates, which is Bicester’s version of the Shine Awards awarded to athletes who have excelled through the winter in training.