Kent XC League – Race 5 – Foots Cray Meadows

The 5th and final event of the 2015 Kent Cross Country League took place on Saturday 13th February at Foots Cray Meadows – another new venue close-by to the Swanley races – a rather picturesque and large park interspersed with woods, streams and a few local dog walkers bemused by the race in front of them.

Being a public park, no tents were allowed, but thankfully we’d brought a gazebo. The very same gazebo that fell victim to the elements at Sparrow’s Den, brought back to life with a roll of magic gaffa tape, a twig and a load bearing flag-pole.

Conditions were cold, with a light drizzle and minimal wind – pretty good compared to the sideways rain of Brands Hatch and the annual quagmire of Parliament Hill. The ground was varied, the paths were hard with a top layer of mud but the majority of the course was across soft open grassland with many opting for trail shoes over spikes. Overall the course was fairly flat but with a nice sloping downhill path to the finishing field.

With only the seniors racing and the pressure limited to those with a chance at prizes, numbers tend to be down, with only 116 men and 64 ladies competing in a slightly lower turnout than last year. Despite early worries of a low turnout, we still put out 19 harriers on the day and completed the duodec (12 to score) season for the men.

In the ladies 5k race at 12:00pm we had 5 ladies and 1 V70 competing. Sadly, with the finish being so far away from the bulk of the race, it was hard to find a spot as a spectator other than the few battles towards the finish – it was great to watch Tina and Maria from Paddock Wood dueling right up to the line.

Cathy Gill (18th) pulled out a great performance to finish first harrier home, followed shortly afterwards by Jillian Holford (20th). Ladies’ captain Lesley Mercer (40th) completed the 3 to score, with Carol Tsang (48th) and Gemma Richardson (54th) finishing off the team.

In the 3 to score race, the ladies came 7th out of 10 clubs, finishing 7th out of 17 clubs overall in the season. Sadly, our team prize for the 6 to score from last year was tearfully handed back. I do encourage anyone who hasn’t tried it to come along to these free events, they are great training and participation can be as important as position.

The M70 race was ran at the same time, with Byron ‘Spud’ Taylor coming home in 3rd (although the only M75 in his race) but taking 1st place in the M70 competition overall, our 3rd win of this trophy.

The senior men’s 10k race began with a fast start, a little too fast for some caught unlaced. Tom Wooley shot off as usual but was quickly caught by Sam Begg in fantastic form and I spent most of the race fending off fierce competition by Terry Everest by never looking back until the finish. Sam was first harrier home in a fantastic 14th place – our best men’s placing since I started cross country events in 2009 – followed by Craig Chapman (22nd and 3rd V40) showing he’s mastered this event as well and Chairman Andrew Howey (30th and 3rd V50). Alex Jeffreys (35th), also on great form finished the 4 to score.

The duodec was then made up of Tom Woolley (45th), Edward Steele (50th), Terry Everest (55th), Simon Howden (68th), Andrew Joad (77th), Geoff Turner (84th), Michael Russell (91st) and Andy Page (107th).

The men’s 4 to score were 6th in the race and 7th out of 18 teams overall. In the duodec trophy we were 4th home and finished the league in a close 3rd place.

In the individual overall competitions, Andy Howey took a well-earned 3rd veteran and 2nd M50 to add to his bulging trophy cabinet.
Thanks to Stella, Bob and the ladies for supporting and to Carol for photos. Thanks to everyone who has competed or helped across the season, especially those providing much the missed Anzac biscuits!

I’ve been Men’s captain for a long 5 years now and the men’s team has got stronger and stronger. It’s a shame we cannot get the same enthusiasm from the ladies’ despite the great effort our captains put in. Please do try out cross country, the first race of any season is a great intro.


Full Results

Senior Women – 5k
18  21:52 CATHY GILL
48  26:00 CAROL TSANG

Senior Men – 10k
14  33:46 SAM BEGG
30  35:32 ANDREW HOWEY
45  37:19 TOM WOOLLEY
68  39:29 SIMON HOWDEN
77  40:35 ANDREW JOAD
84  41:13 GEOFF TURNER
107  45:08 ANDY PAGE

M70 – 5k
3  00:32:32 BRYON TAYLOR