Following the success of our own Thames Valley Cross Country League event at Ashenbury, yesterday’s race at Datchet was another triumph for the club. SAM WHALLEY has the inside story…
Reading Roadrunners took the overall win in the TVXC fixture at Datchet this weekend, with the women in first place and the men in third.
As is the tradition, the race started at 11.02, following a two-minute silence for Remembrance Day. The backdrop of Windsor Castle and the distant sound of church bells and the Last Post made this very moving.
Definitely the flattest and most trail-like of the XC courses, with even some concrete path, this is a popular fixture with our members, and 58 turned up to take part.
First of our women to finish was Sarah McDade, second female overall, with Nikki Gray in third, Holly Sedgwick seventh and Helen Pool (left) tenth, with both Holly and Helen first-timers at TVXC. This was the second consecutive win for the women’s team, a fantastic result.
Keith Russell was our first male scorer, in eighth, with Matt Sarjent (16th), Nathan Davies (17th), Fergal Donnelly (24th), Brendan Russell (29th) and Callum Evans (33rd) completing the scoring team to round off another great result — third behind Maidenhead and Datchet.
Those of us further down both the men’s and women’s fields will have helped keep other teams’ scores down, so it really does make a difference if we get big teams out for these XC events.
The weekend was a double-header for many members, after the start of the Hampshire League season in Aldershot on Saturday.
In what was a huge turnout of 196 runners, the women lined up alongside the likes of Steph Twell for their race, made up of loops of grass and woodland.
First scorer was Helen Pool (67th, tenth vet), with newcomer Isobel Nicklin (85th) and Ann Rostern (91st, 21st vet) making up the scoring senior team, which was tenth. Sam Whalley (156th, 50th vet) was the final scorer for the vets team, which was seventh. Cecilia Csemiczky was our fifth team member on the day, in contrast to Aldershot, Farnham and District’s 28 runners.
A huge 296 runners finished the men’s race, which was again heavily weighted towards host club AFD, with 40 of their members taking part, and seven of them in the first ten!
Our eight-man team did us proud in this totally stacked field, with some entertaining battles towards the finish. First scorer was Ryan O’Brien (40th), followed by Mark Worringham (80th, ninth vet), Chris Burt (102nd), Lance Nortcliff (129th, 24th vet) and Dimi Gospodinov (149th), for a seniors team placing of tenth. Tony Page completed the vets scoring team in 156th (38th vet), with the vets team 6th.
This was a tough but incredibly enjoyable day at the office, with team spirit in abundance and a brilliant atmosphere.
First-timer Isobel (left) said: “As a new member of Reading Roadrunners, I signed up to the first Hampshire XC League race of the season. The day was really enjoyable, there was a huge range of abilities racing which is always great to see.
“During the race there was lots of cheering from the men’s team which I really appreciated as it was the first time I had met most of the other Reading Roadrunners; they were all very welcoming. The atmosphere for the event was fantastic, you could tell everyone was really enjoying it.
“The highlight for me had to be Sam’s brownies and Pete’s sausage rolls! I will definitely be competing in another one soon.”
With that kind of feedback, what are you waiting for? Let’s keep the momentum going with the next TVXC fixture in Sandhurst on November 27th and the Hampshire League in Bournemouth on December 3rd. Look out for final details in your emails/spam and on social media.
Thank you and well done to everyone who represented the club this weekend, especially those who joined me for the double: Dimi Gospodinov, Tony Page, Mike Worsfold, Helen Pool and Cecilia Csemiczky (right).
An album of Eddie Thorpe’s pictures from the Aldershot race can be found at https://photos.app.goo.gl/b68Wn8fAAPGeq8kD7
Go to hampshireathletics.org.uk and tvxc.org.uk/league-results for all the weekend’s results.