Bicester AC produced several personal best cross country performances in the first round of the competitive Chiltern Cross Country League held last Saturday in Oxford. 

Elsie Jacobs produced the highest ever placing by a Bicester female runner in the Chiltern League taking 4th place in the under 11 girl’s race despite suffering a slight slip at the start.  However, she recovered well and produced a superb burst of speed in the final straight to finish just three seconds off 2nd place clocking 6mins 46secs for the 1,900 metre distance.  Jacobs spearheaded a strong team performance from the Bicester under 11 girls as they placed 4th out of the 43 competing teams.  The team was completed by the much improved Abigail Jones who was 30th (7mins 38secs) and Amber Busby 42nd (7mins 56secs).  Although not making the scoring team Bicester’s other finisher Scarlett Lambert, also placed in the top 50 in 49th place (8mins 6secs). 

Owen Stocker ran a strong race in what was a competitive under 13 boy’s race which attracted over 117 finishers.  Stocker was slowly away but made stealthy progress through the field eventually placing 19th in the combined race, his best ever Chiltern League placing, and 7th in the division 2 race.  His time of 11mins 4secs over the 2.9k course, was just 12 seconds off the 2nd placed division 2 finisher.  Stocker headed what was a strong under 13 boy’s team who are in 5th place in the division 2 standings after the first event. The team scorers were completed by cross country debutant Joshua Smith who was 43rd in the combined event (11mins 31secs) and Robert Charlton who was 63rd (12mins 02sec).  Bicester’s other finisher was Thomas Auty who was 111th (14mins 35secs).

Jenny Critchley produced a cross country best in the under 15 girl’s race as she placed 26th out of the 80 strong field clocking 16mins 07secs for the 3.75k course (10th in the division 2 race).  This is Critchley’s first year in this age group and this performance represented a major step on any of her previous best cross country runs.  Also in her first year in the new age group, Lucy McGrath ran well for 43rd clocking 16mins 41secs.     

In the corresponding under 11 boy’s race Jack Green, making his cross country debut, was Bicester’s highest placed runner in 20th  clocking 6mins 58secs for the 1,900 metre distance.  George Mansell performed well for 47th (7mins 27secs) and the team was completed by Simon Cheeseman, 70th in 8mins 08secs, with the team 12th after race 1.

Bicester had one competitor in the under 15 boy’s race and in his first year in the age group Tim Jones was not disgraced placing 55th (15mins 50secs).  And Lucy Montague managed to pick up places, as the race progressed, in the under 17 lady’s race placing 73rd (16mins 44secs).

Written by N Dolden.