35 Bicester AC runners made the journey to Swindon last Sunday 4th February for the penultimate round of the Oxford Mail Cross County League on an old fashioned tough cross country course.       

Bicester numbers were slightly down in the under 11 girl’s race, compared to previous races, but there were some strong, and in some cases improved performances, amongst the Bicester contingent.  Bicester’s Amy Gould led the under 11 girl’s race up the early hill, but she could not quite sustain her early momentum and had to be content with 3rd place over the 1200 metre course clocking 4mins 37secs. This, however, was her best league placing of the season and her consistency over the winter sees her in 3rd overall in the standings with one race left. Maisie Silvester also remains in contention in overall 5th and she ran another fine race to place 6th in 4mins 57secs. 

There were some improved Bicester performances further down with Millie Couzens running her best race of the winter in 10th (5mins 01 secs). However biggest improver was Amelia Cox who produced her best ever performance to improve a massive 24 places on her previous run to finish 11th in 5mins 4secs. Other improvers included Katie Ford who placed 44th a massive 18 places ahead of her previous run, Tomoka Moore (46th) who has improved every time she has run this season and Erin McWhinnie who took a major step forward in placing 53rd. Other Bicester finishers included Lucy Stowell 21st, Lauren Garside 26th, Freya Smith 28th, Molly Action 35th, Emilia Sims 40th, Paige Scarlett 48th and Tia Faulkner 58th.  

Tom Couzens produced his first single digit finish in the League this winter by taking 7th in the under 11 boy’s race and clocking 4mins 27secs for the 1200 metre course. This moves him up to 10th place overall with one race to go. Lucas Davis cemented his place as Bicester 2nd best under 11 boy performer this winter in 15th place (4mins 48 secs) but he was only one place and 3 secs clear of Billy England. However most improved performance of the day went to Freddie Taylor, who left all previous form behind to place in the top twenty finishing in 17th place (4mins 57secs). There was also an eye catching run by Michael Cadle who easily achieved his highest place of the winter in 32nd (5mins 24secs). Other Bicester finishers in the under 11 boys race included William Sims 21st, George Starkey-Walker 32nd, Samuel Worfolk 36th, James Rendell 37th, Henry Lay 49th, Cameron Scarlett 51st and Matthew McDonald who finished his first ever race in 57th place.

Sophie Wheeler has performed well in her first season in the under 13 competition and lies in overall 11th place with one race to go. She again did well at Swindon placing 14th in 10mins 13secs over the 2000 metre circuit and again very close time- wise to the top ten. Other Bicester finishers included Erin Higginbottom 27th, Ellie Lawrie 31st and Kerry Hickman 32nd.

Tom Gould ran another fine race in the under 15/17 boys race as he placed 18th in 20min 28secs. He is 7th overall in the under 15 category going into the last race. Jonty Renk was 26th in the same race (24mins 5secs). Kieran Bird was Bicester’s sole representative in the under 13 boy’s race (18th in 10mins 17secs) and Ellie Faulkner was like-wise in the under 15/17 girl’s race (30th in 20mins 40secs).