Kent XC League – Sparrow’s Den


On Saturday, the 3rd race of the Kent XC League for Senior/Vet men only was held at the blustery and recently waterlogged venue of Sparrows Den, West Wickham – a season favourite for many years hosted by Blackheath ‘The Heath’ and Bromley. A slightly shorter course (although not notable during the race!) than the rest of the league, at around 8.5km covering a lap around a headwind field and a technical and narrow section through the many roots and leaves of an autumnal forest. As confirmed before the event, spikes were a mixed bag given a long path to run along and many stones and roots to tread on. It’s a hard event to pace and the bizarre reversed last lap only meant further congestion, with a lot of back markers to pass through a consecutive lap of the forest before a final lap of the field.

With our new tent (and tent-side) in tow, we had another good turnout given conditions both for harriers (21 men) and for the race, with 211 competitors – 30 more than in 2015. It looked like the big clubs put out some significant talent, with GB athlete Scott Overall leading the field in his second appearance in the league since Swanley in early 2015.

Sam Begg (29th) led the harriers home with a good gap, followed by ‘doomed to come second’ Edward Steele (61st), Alex Jeffreys (67th) and super-sprinter Tom Woolley (71st) to make up the 4 to score. The 12 to score duodec was then made up of Matthew Clements (105th), Dave Hadaway (109th), Simon Howden (113rd), Terry Everest (121st), Simon Whitaker (124th), Matthew Clark (131st), Alex Blackall (132nd) and finished with Neil Clark (136th). Of note, Peter Richardson was first M65, if only it were a category in veteran racing!

4 to score – 7th out of 18 teams (8th overall in league)

12 to score – 4th out of 5 teams (4th overall in league)

For the men, the next Kent XC League event is not until February, but there are many events still to come!

Thanks to the usual supporters, especially those who came from a tough outing at the TWTC dinner the previous evening. The rain proved no problem for the chief photographer this year, although sadly she exposed herself too much!

Post-race venue was the intriguing ‘One Inn the Wood’ at Petts Wood, a micropub and winner of many CAMRA awards, with its own cross country scenery indoors.

Next race(s) are in a couple weeks – senior ladies and M70 only at Danson Park, at the same time as the South of the Thames race up in Ham Lands. Do come and support if you can, reminders will be sent out shortly for upcoming deadlines.

Photos from the day

Full Results

1          00:29:23            SCOTT  OVERALL (Blackheath & Bromley AC)

29         00:33:02            SAM     BEGG

61         00:35:25            EDWARD         STEELE

67         00:36:01            ALEX    JEFFREYS

71         00:36:08            TOM     WOOLLEY

105       00:38:03            MATTHEW        CLEMENTS

109       00:38:18            DAVE   HADAWAY

113       00:38:37            SIMON  HOWDEN

121       00:39:12            TERRY EVEREST

124       00:39:27            SIMON  WHITAKER

131       00:40:08            MATTHEW        CLARK

132       00:40:09            ALEX    BLACKALL

136       00:40:23            NEIL     CLARK

152       00:41:38            GEOFF TURNER

157       00:41:57            STEVE AUSTIN

164       00:43:09            MICHAEL          RUSSELL

166       00:43:20            SIMON  HOLFORD

171       00:44:16            GEORGE          HARRIS

181       00:45:40            MARK   TAYLOR

185       00:46:36            NICK     PIERCE

186       00:46:53            ANDY   PAGE

188       00:47:30            PETER RICHARDSON


Mens XC Captain