English National XC Championship (men): 25 February 2012
In the 6 to score team result we were 15th:
883 Serpentine RC ( 90 106 120 130 188 249 )
In the 9 to score team result we were 10th:
1841 Serpentine RC ( 90 106 120 130 188 249 275 329 354 )
On Saturday 25 February, Serpentine cross country team travelled up to Parliament Hill for the 125th edition of the men's English National Cross Country Championships. Parliament Hill is always an iconic venue and the "National" is always an iconic event and the culmination and highlight of our season as a team and for most of us as individuals too. The incredible sunshine on the day meant that it was a very different experience from last year's mudbath at Alton Towers.
Nick Torry is still in Kenya altitude training so Hendrik Zietsman had the best run of all of us coming 90th, as a prelude to doing four laps of Richmond Park the next day. Richard Phillips in 106th continues his return to form, getting the better this time of Hugh Torry, present and correct on the startline with seconds to spare, in 120th. We welcome back Aodh O'Neil in 130th, no longer living in London and not quite as fit as he has been, in 130th, who has been one the most loyal members of our squad for a number of years. Dave Morgan came 188th and was the deserved winner of our "man of the season" trophy for his commitment to the team and his own training. Tiago Branco in 249th will be delighted that track is almost here. Our six-to-score team finished a good 15th out-of-125 full six-to-score teams, a good result but one that we hope we'll better next year.
Martin Muldoon, normally a triathlete, bravely made his cross country debut for us at the National, finished 276th (and we hope he'll be a regular next season), Paul Hayman capped off his best cross country season for a while in 329th and Andy Reeves (who I foolishly tried to run with for the first half a lap) finished 354th, our nine-to-score team therefore finishing 10th out of 62 nine-to-score teams. Rory Maguire (who is really getting the hang of getting to races on time) finished 365th, Martin Gaunt (who we still think has a marathon PB in him if he sets off fast enough) finished 386th, while Callum Martin in 389th has evidently completely recovered from injuries.
Wesley Harrison came 403rd, Andy Orr came 405th, Craig Martin had his best race of the season in 421st, Jol Attwooll (still celebrating nuptials) came 435th, Andy Robbins (who overtook me as I walked up a hill) came 439th, Andrea Fraquelli (in his first cross country race for a while) came 457th and Eric Phillips just made it into the top 500 in 485th (ouch!). Jamie Hogg came 525th, just one place ahead of Jonathan Lane (a newcomer to the team) in 526th, Ebrima Noble came 534rd, while Jamie Smalley came 634th. James Quinn came 640th, Roger Reid came 642nd, the Serpie website says Brendan Greene came 671st (I thought he was a Queens Park Harrier?), Andy Davies came 688th, Gavin Edmonds came 705th, Nic Barberis-Negra came 733rd, Richard Fanning came 744th while Roger Coyle (who we hope has now put injury behind him) came 748th.
Stephane Schneider came 808th, Ben Cope (still with Wokingham in his legs) came 863rd, James Edgar back after an unusal absence away from cross country, came 874th, Nick Copas came 902nd. Richard Taylor came 940th, Brent Plump (who is clearly behind on his long runs) came 973rd, just beating our first V50 finisher, Michael Stainton in 975. Claudio Bellotti was oh-so-close to the fabled top 1,000 in 1,004th. Raoul Mansukhani was 1015th, Chris Langley-Waylen (also in his debut for us) came 1130th. Paul Fromme was 1188th, Alex Malzer was 1199th, Andrew Scheer was 1239th, Brad Cobb was 1,275th, Mark Palmer was 1,364th, Neil Bradshaw was 1,401st, Mark Kelly was 1,417th, Ian Hodge was delighted to easily make the top 1,500 in 1,460th, Paul Rowbotham was 1,475th and Kieran Dignan was 1,513th.
Well done also to our various second-claimers who raced, in particular Andy Greenleaf (Winchester) who finished 31st and Huw Lobb (Bedford & County) who finished 99th.
Thank you to all the various people who helped on the day and through-out the season, in particular people like Bev Thomas and Sally Hodge who did things like look after the numbers, Malcolm French, who was race steward and on the course much longer than everyone else, Jennifer Bradley and her team of marshalls (no thanks though to Darren Over, who apparently helped out a Highgate runner), all the various people who baked, Lars Menken who took photographs and Christiane at The Magadala pub who didn't mind that we clearly had a larger turn-out then advertised in the post-season celebrations.
Cross country is now more or less over for this season, but it will be back very soon so train hard to be in killer shape come October. We still have the 12-stage road relays to look forward to and we are in need of more people to sign up here: http://www.serpentine.org.uk/pages/race_aaa_champs.html.
Malcolm French, Jen Bradley, Carla Dennery, Alison Nolan, Marta Bagnati, Natalie Kolodziej, Lars Olsen, Darren Over
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