When Bicester AC started competing in the very competitive Chiltern League Cross Country League, they were pleased to have runners finishing in the top half of finishers in their respective age group races.  Competing in the penultimate round of this season’s Chiltern League at Campbell Park on Saturday, Bicester AC had runners placed in the top 20 in four races and narrowly missed having top 20 finishers in two others.  

Finley Colverson-Martin was Bicester’s top finisher on the day in the under 17 men’s race.  He set up what could be a nervy final round with a battling 2nd in the combined division 1 and 2 race (mob race) over the 5.6km circuit finishing 5secs off the winning time (19mins 56secs).  An unofficial tally of the under 17 men’s division 2 individual standings after event 4 puts Finley Colverson – Martin just one point behind the leader.   

Bicester’s other high placer in the individual rankings is Jenny Critchley who is enjoying her best ever cross country season.  For the second consecutive race she had a close fought battle with teammate Anna Jolliffe in the under 17 ladies event run over 4.3km with Critchley just prevailing by 3 secs.  Critchley finished 14th in the 47 strong field (18mins 31secs) with Jolliffe 15th (18mins 34secs) with the team finishing 3rd in the division 2 team race which leaves them in overall 3rd with one race to go.  Unofficially Critchley lies in 3rd place in the under 17 division2 ranking with one race remaining.

Lewie Harris was having his first cross country race for nearly two years.  In the event he produced a superb run to finish 15th in the mob race out of the 75 finishers, in the under 13 boy’s race, clocking 10mins 52secs for the 2.8k circuit.  He was also a close 5th in the division 2 event just 23secs off the leading time.  Earlgean Appiahkorang- Mensah ran another very solid race to place 39th (11mins 55secs) with the team finishing 4th on the day.

Tabitha Bosley is having a superb maiden cross country season and achieved her best Chiltern League placing of the Winter leading the team home with a fine 22nd place out of the 79 finishers in the combined under 13 girl’s race run over 2.8km.  Bosley was just 20secs behind the 2nd placed division 2 runner and lies in 5th place in the division 2 rankings with one event remaining.  She was again well supported by Abigail Jones who was 47th (13mins 12secs) with Amber Busby 48th (13mins 27secs).  The team were 3rd on the day and lie in 4th place in the division 2 rankings.

Edward Jolliffe has performed really well in senior competition this year even though he is one of the younger competitors.  Once he again placed highly in the senior men’s race placing 77th out of the 399 finishers clocking 33mins 03secs for 8.4km course.  Paul Jones followed him home in 331st (43mins 37secs) with Arran Critchley, who has been an ever present for Bicester during the Winter season, closing the Bicester team finishers in 391st (50mins 25secs).

Noah Gulvin and Thomas Styles have performed constantly well throughout the season with both again finishing well up in the under 15 boy’s race run over a 4.3km circuit.  Once again Gulvin led the team home in 22nd place (17mins 10secs) out of the 58 finishers.  Thomas Styles again finished close behind in 24th (17mins 20secs).  The team lie in 3rd place after 4 events. 

Edward Styles has been Bicester’s leading performer in the under 11 boy’s Chiltern League series and he again led the team home at Campbell Park finishing 16th clocking 7mins 53secs for the 1.5km distance.  However, he was given a good race by teammate Tom Court who was only 7secs down in 22nd place. 

Bicester’s biggest improver through the winter has been Emily Benfield.  Hitherto noted as a sprinter and jumper Benfield has added the long-distance running string to her bow.  Having beaten 14 runners home in round 1 Benfield finished 174th (33mins 39secs) at Campbell Park beating 56 runners in the process.  She was nearly 4 minutes faster than race 1.  

Written by N Dolden