The cross country season has arrived and what can be described as an old fashioned cross country course with races traversing a river (snorkels not required).  A dozen Bicester AC runners contested round 1 of the Chiltern League held on Saturday in Bedford.  Chiltern League contesting clubs compete in two divisions run together as one race referred to as the mob match.  The Chiltern League features athletes from a number of counties including Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Berkshire.  The standard of competition is high.

The Bicester team accustomed itself very well with 7 athletes making the top half of finishers and two athletes making the top ten.  In his previous outing at Bedford Leo Blyton finished 49th clocking just inside 13 minutes for the 3.2km course.  Competing in a very competitive under 13 boy’s race, including 79 other athletes, Blyton finished a superb 6th stopping the clock at 11mins 02secs, nearly two minutes faster than his previous Bedford effort.  Blyton was Oxfordshire’s highest placer and this was easily his best performance in Bicester colours.  Blyton was also 2nd finisher amongst the division 2 competitors.

Bicester’s best team performance came from the under 17 men’s team.  With three to count, Bicester came up against a very strong Luton team and finished just 14 points short in 2nd place in the division 2 team race.  Owen Stocker continued his fine summer form and produced his highest Chiltern League placing since 2020 with 10th place out of the 62 finishers and a 19mins 56secs clocking for the 6.1km distance leaving him in 4th place in the division 2 standings after race 1.  Noah Gulvin produced one of his best efforts over the country for 23rd place less than a minute behind Stocker (20mins 41secs).  Joshua Moran put his summer efforts in road races to good use with one of his best ever cross country efforts for 27th in 20mins 54 secs to close the team scorers.  Twin brother Isaac was still under the weather from a recent bout of illness so did well to place 40th in 22 mins 11secs.

Kate O Malley built on her good final 1500 metres of the season to produce a sizeable improvement in form in the under 15 girl’s cross country race.  Despite being at the junior end of the age group, O Malley finished in the top half of finishers in 34th clocking 16mins 25secs for the 4.1km circuit and 6th in the division 2 race.  Ella Myers Finnegan, like O Malley is at the junior end of the age group and just missed out on a top half finish but still performing well to place 39th (16mins 40secs).

Despite feeling poorly, Anna Jolliffe managed to make the top half of finishers in the under 17/20 woman’s race in 24th clocking 21mins 33secs for the 5.2km course.  Leanne Stocker did well to make top 100 finishers in the senior lady’s event placing 95th in the 226 strong field clocking 28mins 12secs for the 6.1km course.  Bicester’s other finisher was Emily Benfield who made the top 200 in 190th (34mins 32secs).

Thomas Perry was Bicester’s sole representative in the under 15 boy’s race run over a 4.1km circuit and was 62nd in 16mins 30secs.  And in the senior men’s event club chair Paul Groves swapped the Board room for cross country shoes to finish 348th and clock 56mins 24secs for the 9.5km distance.