English & Welsh National XC’s and Friday evening 5k under the lights!

7 March 2023

ECCA English National XC – Bolesworth Castle, Tattenhill nr Chester – Saturday 25th February 2023.

Bolesworth Castle in Cheshire was host to the National Cross-Country Championships after stepping-
in to replace the intended location Harewood House nr Leeds. The latter site became unavailable
after receiving a ‘Stewardship’ grant that prevented the staging of large events on its land.
The mostly flat, dry and fairly ‘soft’ underfoot conditions at the new venue were a change on the
usual hilly and muddy conditions more associated with the National Cross-Country.

The event comprised of ten races staged across age groups ranging from under 13/15/17&20 to
Senior Men & Women and attracted a huge entry of 5,775 participants.
Twelve athlete’s from G&G made the long journey to Bolesworth Castle. Pick of the bunch was Suzie
Monk who continued her great run of form with a 32nd place finish in the Senior Women’s race. Beth
Davies was our only other runner in this category placing 620th from 773 finishers.

James Harvey was first home for the G’s in the Senior Men’s race in 279th place. Mark Tennyson
(M55-4) was 562nd , Lee Lintern who has had another decent cross-country season 702nd , Ian Davies
887th and Peter Wootton 1,124th from a large field of 1,472 finishers.

Last November the Davies family achieved the impressive feat of leading off three of the G’s four
teams at the Reigate Priory Cross-Country Relays. This time the family went one better with four
individual runs. Kay (U20) 113th in the Junior Men’s and Abel (U15B) 141st both had decent races
against strong opposition.

The remaining representation from the G’s was in the U17W’s race with Abigail Bushell placing a
credible 48th and Poppy Martin 115th and Henry Williams (U13B’s) finishing 107th .

We asked one of the younger athletes who ran their first ever ‘National’ for an appreciation of their

‘‘I ran at the National XC for the first time last weekend. This year I have been running Border League
and I ran in the Southern and Surrey XC’s too.

I like to start XC at my pace rather than blast off too fast and then I pick my way through the pack. I
quickly learnt that it helps to get a fast start with such a large field and I got caught behind some
slower athlete’s which was frustrating.

I soon got into my stride as the field opened out and I could make up places. My Border League races
have a much smaller field and I like to push myself by directly competing with one or two runners. I
like it when you get to run next to someone and you can feel each other trying to get ahead. At the
National this was much harder to do with so many people around.

This year our Sunday training has given me an advantage on hilly courses, but this one was flat and
soft. At least it meant I could wear trails which I’ve preferred and trained in more this season.

In the junior endurance group we like to think about performance not PB’s. I think the next time I
run at the National I can improve my performance by remembering the differences between running
in smaller and larger fields and to push myself a bit more.

My last cross country this season is Sunday’s Border League at Reigate.’’

Abel Davies (U15B) 141st (report received from parent Beth)

Welsh National XC – Penylan Arena, Brecon – Saturday 25th February 2023.

A mostly flat, compact course greeted the runners in Brecon at the 118th Edition of the Welsh XC Championships. Previous seasons had seen the event held at Pembray Country Park and Singleton Park in Swansea so Brecon was a novelty for the championships although the venue had hosted the Gwent League a number of times.

Tom Foster achieved his highest ever finish at the Welsh National XC with an excellent 9th place at
Brecon. In his last three outings at this event, Tom has placed 13th 11th & 9th . Based on this impressive run of results we are looking forward to the 2027 race. David Williams (M55-6) continued his
impressive record of G’s results with a 93rd place finish and sixth in his age group.

Podium Under the Lights 5k – Battersea Park – Friday 17th April 2023.

Fast times from four G’s were achieved at this early season road race in a chilly Battersea Park.
In the ‘elite’ race John Sanderson finished an impressive 5th in a time of 14:14 and Suzie Monk
equalled her road PB stopping the clock on 16:55 for 16th place in the Ladies race.
In the earlier waves Matt McDaniel narrowly missed matching Suzie’s result, but instead finished 1s
off his PB recording an excellent time of 15:10. James Harvey on the back of a decent XC season did
smash his previous best with also an excellent time of 15:33.