For the second time this season Bicester AC took on the mantle of cross country race organisation as they co – hosted with Banbury Harriers the latest round of the Oxfordshire Cross Country League, held last Sunday at Bo Peep Farm Adderbury which doubled up as the Oxfordshire Cross Country Championships. 

A massive contingent of 45 Bicester AC athletes contested the 9 races and produced an impressive string of results representing one of Bicester AC’s best ever cross-country team performances.  The club collected nine county awards on the day which included six individual and three team county medals,

Elsie Jacobs continues to enjoy a fantastic season.  She again finished 2nd in the under 11 girl’s league race as well as winning the county race.  Her time of 6mins 18secs over the 1,550 metre circuit was 28 seconds clear of the 3rd placer with teammate, fast improving Ellie Myers- Finnegan, a further two seconds behind in 4th.  This was Bicester’s break through performance of the day as Myers-Finnegan also claimed her first ever county cross country medal with bronze defeating a number of runners who had finished in front of her in previous league events.  There was further excellent packing of Bicester AC runners at the front of the field with Abigail Jones sneaking in to the top ten in 10th (7mins 04secs) with Amber Busby 17th (7mins 28secs) and Scarlett Lambert 22nd (7 mins 26secs).  Other Bicester placings were Molly Campbell 35th (8mins 19secs), Evie Jasper 36th (8mins 29secs), Eloise LeMonnier Pres 44th (8mins 40secs) and Maya Evans 45th (8mins 41secs).  

Bicester AC’s under 15 girls have been in fantastic form this season.  Anna Jolliffe has led the charge and produced another outstanding run to finish third in the combined under 15/17 girl’s league race clocking 16mins 11secs for the 3,910 metre circuit.  In the under 15 county championship race, run in conjunction with the league race, Jolliffe took a magnificent silver in the individual race.  Jolliffe was well supported by Lucy McGrath in 8th (16mins 53secs) and Jennifer Critchley in 10th (16mins 57secs).  Despite all three of the Bicester’s girls being in the first year of their age group, which meant they were up to three years younger than some of their competitors, the team of Jolliffe, McGrath and Critchley not only took the team gold in the county championships under 15 girl’s race but were 2nd in the League Race which has now moved them up to 3rd in the overall team standings after three events.

Hugo Jinks enjoyed his best performance of the season in the under 15/17 boy’s race as he formed part of a leading pack of three which had broken away from the rest of the field in the early stages.  However, the 4,950 metre course gradually took its toll on Jinks’ effort and he weakened in the closing stages but was still only 26 secs off the winner’s time in 4th (17mins 57secs).  However, his fine effort did result in a bronze medal finish in the County Championship under 17 men’s race.  Bicester’s new Santa Run Champion Edward Jolliffe was Bicester’s next placer finishing a fine 7th (18mins 19secs).  And the A scoring team was completed by under 15 Oliver Conway who was a fine 13th (19mins 16secs) 28 seconds in front of his elder sibling Jamie who was 15th.  The team finished second in the team race which moved them up to 3rd in the overall team standings just two points off second place.  Jinks, Jolliffe and Jamie Conway combined to win the team county championship under 17 men’s gold whilst Oliver Conway combined with Timothy Jones (34th in 22mins 23secs) and Ben Groves (36th in 23mins 19secs) combined to take the team bronze in the county championship under 15 boy’s race.

Owen Stocker has enjoyed a fine cross country and he again produced another very good run in the under 13 boy’s event run over a 2,970 metre course.  For the third time this season Stocker produced a podium finish in the Oxfordshire League taking 3rd with 11mins 41secs.  In the county championship race Stocker won his first ever medal with a superb silver.  Other Bicester AC finishers were Django La Porter 43rd in 15mins 41secs and Stanley Critchley who was 47th in 25mins 03secs.

Bicester’s other medal came in the under 9 race which was run as a mixed race over 1,120 metres.  First Bicester finisher was Tom Court in 20th but it was Bicester’s second finisher, Sophie Lewis (32nd), who medalled in the county race with a fine bronze medal as 3rd girl county girl finisher.  Other Bicester finishers were Jonathon Morris (14th in 6mins 38secs) whilst Lewis Harris improved 8 places on his inaugural cross country race with 19th place (6mins 45secs).  Other Bicester placings were George Mansell in 29th (7mins 00secs), Henry Unger 50th (7mins 45secs) and Simon Cheeseman 57th  (8mins 10secs).

Just three Bicester athletes started for Bicester in the under 13 girl’s race and Zofia Conway, in her inaugural league race of the season, ran well for a strong 19th (15mins 32secs).  She was followed in by Megan Myers-Finnegan in 36th (16mins 50secs) and Freya Derry in 41st (19mins 24secs). 

Having not had many senior men competitors in cross country races in recent years Bicester AC fielded two men in Sunday’s event.  John Stocker has only recently joined the club and made a very a strong start finishing 132nd clocking 41mins 21secs for the 9,160 metre distance.  And Arran Critchley in only his second competitive cross country run did well to place 275th (51mins 17secs).    

Written by N Dolden