Bicester AC enjoyed a superb turnout for round 2 of the Chiltern Cross Country League held at Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes.  This round incorporated a round of the cross challenge which is a series long competition for elite runners held at various courses around the country.  Therefore, competition was more intense than normal.  Ex Bicester AC athlete and one of England’s top middle-distance runners, Ben West, was 10th out of the 549 finishers in the senior men’s race run over a 9.5km circuit.

Three Bicester AC athletes competed against West in the senior men’s race.  Edward Jolliffee, fresh from his success in the first Oxfordshire League cross country event, ran another superb race to finish 75th (35mins 29secs) out of the 352 finishers in the Chiltern League incorporating runners from both divisions 1 and 2.  He was 16th out of the 181 division 2 finishers and 3rd under 20 division 2 finisher.  Tom Gould chose a tough race to make his seasonal debut placing 175th (53mins 25secs) in the division 2 race with Aaran Critchley just one place behind in 54mins 06secs.    

Anna Jolliffe was making her seasonal cross debut in the under 17 women’s race run over a 4.9km circuit.  She placed highly in the mob race with 8th (19mins 31secs) out of the 53 finishers.  Jolliffe finished in 3rd place in the division 2 race one place ahead of Jenny Critchley who clocked 21mins 06secs which was a good follow up to her third place in race 1.  Both Jolliffe and Critchley placed well in the team race finishing 2nd which leaves the team in overall 3rd place after two races.

Finley Colverson-Martin faced some stiff competition in the under 17 men’s race but equipped himself well to finish 8th in the mob race out of the 53 finishers in 20ins 17secs for the 5.9km course.  Covlerson-Martin was 5th in the division 2 race just over a minute down on first placed time. 

One of Bicester’s best placings on the day came from Edward Styles, making his competitive cross country debut, who finished a superb 11th (7mins 32secs) out of 47 finishers in the under 11 boy’s race run over a 1.8km circuit.  Cyrus Ariana reversed placings with Finlay Haynes from the previous week with Ariana 36th (8mins 41secs) and Haynes 44th (8mins 56secs).  Zachary Evans, in his first cross country race of the season, was 45th (8mins 58secs).

One of the biggest improvements from round 1 came from Tabitha Bosley in the under 13 girl’s race.  Bosley improved 13 placings to overturn form with several athletes to finish 23rd out of 68 finishers in the mob race (5th amongst the division 2 runners).  She ran 13mins 42secs for the 2.7km course.  Bicester’s other placer was Amber Busby, who was 42nd in 14mins 25secs (8th division 2 placer), which leaves the team in 4th place in the division 2 standings after two races.       

One of the best team efforts of the day came from the under 15 boys.  Noah Gulvin finished 8th out of the 31 division 2 finishers clocking 16mins 38secs for the 4.4km circuit which was 21secs off second place.  Thomas Styles overturned form with Owen Stocker from round 1 finishing 11th division 2 runner in 16mins 52secs, one place and 10 secs ahead of Stocker.  Although the team finished in 4th place, they were just two points off second place and remain in a strong 3rd in the standings after two events.  

There were two Bicester AC runners in the under 13 boy’s race.  Erigean Appiahkorang – Mensah was 57th in the mob under 13 boy’s race clocking 13mins 37secs for the 2.7km circuit.  Lincoln Jones was breaking league records in the recent Oxfordshire Sportshall League, and he showed his versatility with 71st and a 14mins 18secs clocking.  There was good effort from Emily Benfield in the senior lady’s race contested over 5.9km with 205th out of the 235 finishers clocking 36mins 11secs beating almost twice as many runners as she beat in round 1.

Written by N Dolden.