The gentle undulations of Harwell provided the backdrop for the latest round of the Oxford Mail Cross Country League staged last Sunday. With one round not contested, due to the lack of a venue, it is best of 3 races to count in the 4 race series.
The course for under 15/17 boy’s race was inadvertently cut short but this did not phase Bicester AC’s Ben West who was one of two Bicester winners on the day. West has not been beaten by an Oxfordshire runner during the winter season and this fine record continued as her emerged victorious in 14 mins 25 secs on a shortened course. This puts West in a very strong position in the under 17 overall standings with just one race to go. Max Nicolle finished 10th overall (16mins 11secs) and lies 6th in the under 15 male standings.
Bicester’s other winner was Millie Couzens in the under 13 girl’s race as she romped to victory in 9mins 26secs over the 2000 metre course. This was Couzens inaugural race in this year’s league although she has been busy in the other cross country league that Bicester compete in (the Chiltern League). Other members of the Bicester team were Amy Willis back in 20th place (11mins 27secs) and Imogen Ansell (29th in 12mins 07 secs)
Bicester strongest turnout numerically was in the under 11 girl’s race run over a 1200 metre course. Unfortunately this was not a team race but Imogen Cox once again finished in the top 10 placing 9th in 7mins 21secs. She was pursued closely by Anna Jolliffe who was just 3 seconds down in 7mins 24secs, Next in were the Couzens’ siblings as Anna and Isobelle were separated by just 3 seconds with Anna in 12th (7mins 28secs) and Isabella 14th. The Bicester contingent was completed by Hollie Offord who was 37th (8mins 31secs) and Katie Groves 38th (8mins 35secs).
There were fewer Bicester athletes in the under 11 boy’s equivalent but all of Bicester’s runners equipped themselves well. Owen stocker had the honour of leading the team home in 20th place (7mins 05 secs) just 3 secs ahead of Timothy Jones (21st). The team was completed by Harry Rendell 35th in 7 mins 39secs. In the under 13 boy’s race ,Freddie Taylor was Bicester’s leading light finishing 10th in mins 45secs. Edward Joliffe continues to perform well and was 16th (10mins 20secs) with Michael Cadle 22nd in 10mins 32secs. Ben Groves completed the Bicester contingent in 30th (11mins 47secs).
There was Bicester individual representation in three of the other age group races. Tom Gould has been performing for Bicester since his under 11 days but now competes as an under 20 in the senior race. He has been in the good form in the senior men’s race this season and Sunday was no exception as he finished 73rd in 36mins 17secs. Molly Acton was Bicester’s sole runner in the under15/17 girl’s race placing 23rd (19mins 12secs), And there was a Bicester competitor in the under 9 mixed race with Madelaine Sollis finishing in 23rd.