Bicester AC’s cross country runners are in rude health if the first round of this season’s cross country league staged last Sunday 2nd November at Ascott-under-Whychwood is any guide. There was an excellent spread of Bicester athletes throughout the age groups with 5 top ten finishers including podium finishes in the under 11 and under 13 girl’s races.

Bicester were able to field three full teams in the under 13 girls race held over a 2000 metre course. Amy Gould was an excellent 3rd clocking 7mins 59secs and led the A team home in 4th place. Holly Griffiths Brown produced her best ever cross country effort to place 10th with ever reliable Maisie Silvester closing the team home in 19th place. Amber Pittuck ran a race of rich promise to be 21st. Other Bicester finishers in this age group were Freya Smith 31st, Lauren Garside 35th, Holly Hunter 42nd, Lucy Stowell 51st and Paige Scarlett 54th.

Bicester got off to a flying start in the under 11 girl’s race run over 1200 metres with two runners placing in the top six. Top of the pops was Millie Couzens who was the first Oxfordshire runner home. She place 3rd with a clocking of 3mins 58secs just 4 second off first place. Amelia Cox also produced a sparkling performance to place 6th with Lucy Watts 17th and last year’s star under 9 girl performer, Georgia Usher, placing 23rd. Other Bicester finishers were Isabella Hopkins 25th, Ava Neptune 44th, Maddy Powell 52nd, Evie Price 57th and Rubie Silvester 58th.

Freddie Taylor produced one of the highest male cross country finishes from a Bicester runner in recent years by placing 4th in the under 11 boy’s race also run over a 1200 metre course. He was only beaten by runners from Radley AC. He was well supported by Ellis Griffiths Brown who belied his lack of experience on the cross country terrain to take 14th. Michael Cadle was stepping up from the under 9 age group and he had a very pleasing run in his new age group to take 18th. Other Bicester finishers in this race were Michael Gilbert 37th, Ben Groves 41st, Cameron Scarlett 43rd, Jospeh Nugent 44th, Finn Graham 47th and Ethan Connor 50th.

The under 9 races are in their second season and these races combine both boys and girls. Harry Rendell was another top ten finisher for Bicester AC placing 7th. He was followed by Imogen Cox in 15th place but she had the consolation of being the 3rd girl finisher. Other Bicester finishers included Edward Gilbert 29th, Isla Bohannon 39th, Bethan Workman 40th and Hollie Offord 41st.

Tom Couzens put in his usual reliable effort in the under 13 boy’s race ran over 2000 metres placing 11th of the 49 finishers. As ever Billy England gave him sterling support placing 19th and Samuel Worfolk closed the team in 35th place which was good enough for 6th place in the team standings after race 1.

And it was good to see three new club runners make their debut in the under 15/17 girls race held over a 3,500 metre course. Tara Gowans had the honour of leading the team home in 33rd place with Libbie Nicklin 50th and Bethan Liversidge 52nd. Tom Gould was Bicester’s sole competitor in the under 15/17 boy’s race run over a 4,800 course placing 18th.