Last Saturday Bicester AC runners competed in the penultimate round of this season’s Chiltern League Cross Country event at Campbell Park Milton Keynes.  Recent mild but damp weather had turned the course into what could be termed a ‘traditional’ cross country course with runners taking home from the event an industrial quantity of Campbell Park mud.

Anna Jolliffe improved on her Oxfordshire county championship performance from the previous weekend as she overturned form with the county championship silver medallist to finish in the top third of finishers in the under 17 womens’s mob race (combining division 1 and division 2 runners) placing 18th.  She clocked 18mins 54secs for the 4.3km course and was 4th fastest amongst the division 2 finishers.  This leaves her in 3rd place in the division 2 standings with just one round remaining.

The under 17 men’s team have competed well throughout the Chiltern League season. in what is a very competitive age group.  They finished a superb 3rd on Saturday achieving the same number of points as the runner up team team.  Owen Stocker is enjoying a superb Winter season and achieved his highest Chiltern League placing of 15th, and 5th in the division 2 race, clocking 21mins 23secs for the 5.6km course.  Finley Colverson-Martin, still short of race fitness, did well to finish 23rd in 21mins 54secs.  The team scorers were completed by Isaac Moran who was 36th in 23mins 25secs.  Bicester AC finishers were completed by Joshua Moran who was 39th in 24mins 38secs.  The team lie in 4th place with one event remaining, but whilst league leaders Stevenage hold a commanding lead, Bicester are just 5 points off 3rd and 17 points off second place.

Bicester’s Erlgean Appiahkorang-Mensah achieved his highest Chiltern League placing with 20th in the under 13 boy’s race.  This was 19 places higher than he achieved in last year’s corresponding event.  He clocked 11mins 17secs for the 2.8km course and was 5th division 2 finisher and is 6th in the individual division 2 standings with one event remaining.  Max Finnegan was next in for Bicester finishing 45th (12mins 12secs) with Thomas Perry, in only his second competitive cross country outing, closing in the team scorers in 56th (12mins 50secs).  Bicester finished 4th in the division 2 team event matching the number of points achieved by the third placed team. With one event remaining Bicester are 5th in the division 2 standings just 11 points off 3rd place.

Edward Jolliffe ran a fine race in the senior men’s race run over 8.4km.  Despite as an under 20 being one of the youngest in the field, Jolliffe performed well to finish 70th recording 34mins 47secs.  Paul Jones was next Bicester runner to finish placing 266th (44mins 33secs) with Arran Critchley, enjoying his best cross country season, 20 places behind in 286th (46mins 18secs).

Bicester had a team of three scorers in the under 13 girl’s event.  Kate O Malley led the Bicester contingent home in 41st timed at 13mins53secs for the 2.8km distance.  She was followed home by Emilie Stocker who was 55th in 16mins 27secs with Bicester debutant Alyssa Shangkuan one place behind in 56th (17mins 00secs).  The Bicester team lie in 4th place in the division 2 team standings with one event remaining.

There were just two runners in the senior ladies race and both enjoyed good runs. This slightly shorter distance, than that run in the Oxfordshire League last week, played more to Emily Benfield’s strengths and she beat quite a few runners home in placing 156th (34mins 53secs).  She was just 7secs in front of Katrina O Malley who also ran well for 159th (35mons 00secs) in the 199 strong field.

There was just one Bicester runner apiece in the two under 15 races.  Abigail Jones finished 48th in the under 15 girl’s event clocking 22mins 32secs for the 4.3km course.  And Benjamin Shangkuan made his competitive cross country debut in the under 15 boy’s finishing in 60th place recording 23mins 50secs for the 4.3km course.