17 December 2015
Well a full scale evacuation of the hotel, after the fire alarm was set
off at half past midnight, was a good start... All accounted for and not
'our' fault! Weather is blue sky but fresh. Great conditions, good
parking and facilities and a lot of happy people.
Photos start here...
I took some video at the nationals last week and on one of the clips one
of your athletes provides the “entertainment” as he jumps the stream,
you may like to pass the link on to him or others for some light hearted
entertainment! Hope he was ok after.
We had exactly fifty young athletes travelling up to
Nottingham for the 2014 National Cross Country Championships and what an
impact they all had.
Most of them travelled on the team coach leaving the
clubhouse friday lunch time, heading for our hotel that was to be our base
for the next two days. After a long but relaxed journey all were booked into
their rooms, some then went swimming, where a game of water polo developed
between boys and girls, while a hardy few went for an easy run. After a good
dinner and a fair amount of chatting, lights were out by 10pm ish ready for
the next days exertions. Two hours later we had a rude awakening with the
hotel fire alarms blaring. A few confused faces in the corridor but soon all
boys, girls and adults were assembled on the pavement outside, some with
essential "i pads" and no coats and some without room keys! This was the
start of our athletes being regularly locked out of their rooms, for one
reason or another, and led to numerous trips to reception to get new door
key cards. A league table was set up with the eventual winners topping 20
trips. Billy was joint winner with Callum, closely followed by most of the
young athletes! We also began speculating as to which of the rival running
clubs had actually activated the fire alarm!
In this potentially serious situation the Blackheath
and Bromley youngsters all conducted themselves in a mature and sensible way
and were a real credit to our club. Despite this interruption the youngsters
were up bright and early and enjoyed a full and varied breakfast.
Back onto the coach for the short trip to the lovely
Wollaton Park, we passed the local Parkrun that had just started and were
delighted to see Billy and Jess Keene's dad Mick storming around the field
near the front of the pack. A real inspiration!
The setting for this years Nationals was excellent,
mainly dry and firm underfoot with a few nasty, dirty water filled ditches
and a couple of logs to negotiate all in the shadow of the impressive 16th
century Wollaton Hall, which now house Nottingham Natural history museum.
It was great to see so many Blackheath and Bromley HAC
vests and gave us an interest in each of the eight junior races.
The U 20 men and women weren't able to field enough
for full team honours but great to see Amber Reed 71st, Beth Frost 100th and
Will Ruiz 96th all in the top 100.
The U17 boys race saw 400m Hurdler Bailey Stickings
leading the pack for about 1/2mile before being swallow and spat out
somewhere near the back. However, Bailey's presence did enable the three
other Blackheath boys to record a very respectable 12th team place. This was
the first time the U17's have fielded a scoring team since Phil Seseman,
Greg Proctor, Will Mercer and Sam Jackson placed 12th in 2010.
Will Fuller continued his excellent season taking a
few great scalps and coming in a fine 11th, followed by Richard Webb
finishing a strong 44th. Thomas Desborough fresh from gaining his first Kent
vest had his best National placing coming home in 128th. They celebrated
these great achievements by eating lots of sweets or were they chocolate
The five U17 girls helped the team secure 10th place
lead home by another great run from Niamh Bridson Hubbard, despite losing a
spike, still ran in a strong 22nd. Leah Everson finished in 115th, Sam
Leighton 148th, Jenny Sheasby in her first National 186th and Chloe
The U15 boys only had four boys running after a late
withdrawal from Will Pope following a scan that discovered a stress fracture
in his back. This stopped Will from competing but didn't stop him from
travelling with the team and enjoying all but the actual racing. The four
boys who did run produced a team finish of 20th and saw Marco Arcuri inside
the top 100 in 96th, Alek Wiltshire 119th, Charlie Davis 186th and Oscar
Highlight of the day came as the U15 girls stormed
around to easily win the team trophy and such is our strength and depth that
our first five girls individual results would still have easily won, even
though only four are needed to score.
Naomi Kingston, with still another year in the age
group had her best run of the season powering through the field to finish in
5th. Jess Keene also finished strongly to cross the line in 10th.
Kelsey Fuss 16th, Yasmin Austridge 22nd and Georgina
Taylor 28th were all well to the fore in a field of over 350. These girls
were backed up by a great debut National run from Amy Leach 183rd, Jo Clowes
216th, Mary Guy 253rd, Darcy Kirwin 295th and Francesca Pickup 320th.
Athletes have many different ways of approaching races
but Naomi's choice of setting up a hair dressing salon before the race and
plating the girls hair (Andy Frankish turned down his offer of a new hair
style) clearly helped her to relax and then produce one of Blackheath &
Bromley's performances of the day.
Henry James Cowie, also sporting a new hair cut had an
equally great race also finishing a tremendous 5th position. The U13 boys
had the biggest number of BBHAC vests running and finished a brilliant 5th
place only 31 points off gold and 11 off bronze. Backing up Henry were
Michael Eagling, sacrificing a Kent County swim to run, coming home a great
39th followed by two boys, neither 100% fit having missed a fair amount of
training through injury. Angus Harrington's gutsy run in 57th and year young
Peter Guys 65th completed the scoring team.
Joseph Georgiadis, also a year young and in his first
National had a fabulous run in 103rd. Coleman Corry in his first National
was 113rd. George Pope and Lewis Stickings were again almost inseparable (on
and off the course) with only 3 seconds separating them in 162nd and 168th
respectively. The next three boys all at their first Nationals and all with
next year in the age group were Keir Lundy 197th, Billy Keene 209th (
wearing spikes for the first time) and Ben Gardiner 221st. Callum Myatt
276th, finished unrecognisable as his face was covered in mud after going
through one of the water features. He was soon able to wash it off in the
Hotel swimming pool! Cameron Swatton on his first National was 301st and
Charlie Short making up for his mum Jane Bradshaw's absence (foot stress
The U13 girls had nine girls in Nottingham but only
eight ran as Isabelle Bridge went down with a fever, not helped by standing
on the pavement at midnight waiting for the fire bridge to give us the all
clear. The young girls did the club proud finishing 8th team place with
Millie Smith a brilliant 21st, Jessica Sellar a great 74th, a strong 102nd
from Grace Scopes and Emilie Penlington 123rd completing the scoring 4. They
were backed up by Lauren Goddard 206th, Claudia Pickup 258th, Lily Tappenden
349th and Zoe Austridge 380th. Interesting to note that five of these girls
will still be U13 next year.
It was great to also have two club athletes, Shannon
Riskey and Lorna Clowes supporting the athletes at the start of each race.
Thanks also to former team manager Paul Riskey for his help ensuring the
athletes got to the start on time. Probably about time for Paul to get
officially involved again!
In the senior women race all three BBHAC ladies were
mums to young athletes and so in the re named "Mums race" Emilie's mum
Carole finished in 245th, Bailey and Lewis' mum Charlotte came 307th and
Yasmin and Zoe's mum Claire came 444th.
After the short journey back to the hotel driven by
"coach driver of the year" Peter, it was back in the pool for more water
polo and general high jinks before getting ready for the National Supper.
After dinner and a few dull speeches the boys and girls went off to the pool
room / lounge to play!! To quote one young athlete "what goes on tour stays
on tour" !! So no further comment!
Many thanks must go to the numerous parents and
Blackheath past presidents and members for all their tremendous support on
and around the course. Great to see Graham (Gary ) Botley, Ian Wilson, Tim
Souter, Mike Mahoney, Bill Foster, Terri Shotton, Roy Smith and Pat Calnan.
Special thank you to Mr Motivator coach Nigel Stickings for inspiring all
the athletes to achieve so highly! Thanks to Dave Cordell and Peter Tucker
for once again pitching the tent, supplying chairs and endless cups of tea,
mainly consumed by Peter T!! See photos.
President Bob Cliff, ever present at the cross counrty
events and always supporting from seemingly inaccessible places. A special
thank you for the great photos, on our website within hours, all taken by
Mike Peel. Nice to see Ken Daniel supporting both the women and men this
time! If anyone has his lost GB speedos, last seen pool side, could they
please return them.
Coleman's dad Nic, soon to be U15 boys Kent league
team manager joined us for the weekend and many thanks go to him for
providing the much needed liquid refreshments!
The weekend was a great success and in no small way
down to Hanna Cordell's huge efforts and organisational skills. Her
professionalism was evident throughout and only faltered once when she
thought the youngsters had eaten all the Haribo fried eggs before she could
get her hands on any!!
Andy Frankish, the girls team manager, Hanna and
myself owe a huge debt of gratitude to Nigel and Charlotte Stickings, Carole
Penlington, Jane Bradshaw and Claire Austridge for the tremendous support
they gave the young athletes throughout the weekend.
For videos of all races go to
The National Cross Country Championships took place on
Saturday 22nd February.
On a sunny but windy day over 10,000 athletes and spectators attended the
National Cross Country Championships in Nottingham creating a fantastic
Local organisers Notts AC and Nottingham City Council really did put on a
great event and as well as the overall big number there were a number of
record fields of finishers from the 10 races in the programme.
The huge field that lined up for the senior men’s race was spectacular to
see and 1657 finished, this wasn’t a record but compared well with the 1948
finishers at Newark in 1996 when all restrictions on entries were lifted.
Also 127 Clubs fielded a team – the best number since 1999 at Newark when
133 took part.
So Newark it seems was the place to be in the 1990s!!
All in all, a fantastic event with the great history
of the National maintained.
Blackheath fielded teams in all the ages groups and
had considerable success, especially in the under 15 girls race as they won
the team prize. Kudos to the coaching team at Norman park.
11 men good and true took the start, ranging from GB internationals, to
first time runners in the national. The perfect blend of youth and
12k. Three big laps, firm under foot, one small hill, one log jump, one
ditch jump and one bog to navigate.
Mike Skinner 10
Ben Harding 102
Andrew Rayner 191
Danny Brewer 262
Alex Gibbins 305
Sam Barnes 314
Kevin May 369
Jon Vinter 521
Steve Cooper 623
Dan Kenndy 900
Richard Hall 1181
17th in the 6 to score competition (beating Belgrave 21st Tonbridge 25th &
South London 72nd)
15th In the 9 to score (beating Sale 16th, Belgrave 17th & Tonbridge 21st)
England athletics take on the event here
1st Steve Vernon (Stockport Harriers) in a time of 0:39:30 - Random fact
Veron has taken a medal of some description at every national for the last
Last Andrew Morgan (Dartford Road Runners) in a time of 1:35:46 - Random
fact Andrew Morgan is over 60
In total 1,657 men completed the course
Having Mike Skinner in the team is always a highlight, seeing Mike run is
like watching a perfectly tuned race car zoom around Silverstone, balance,
poise and power.
Kev May, in his first National, asking where he finished in relation to GB
Olympian and world champion triathlete Johnny Brownlee - always sizing up
Steve Cooper joined the club in 1996 and was running the national cross
country for the first time.
Interviews with the winners and general coverage of all races
Respect and Thanks
To all the supporters that made the trek up to Nottingham, the support for
Blackheath was amazing
Dave and Hannah Cordell for ensuring that once again the tent was in a prime
Pete Tucker for being an excellent number two on tent duties, handing out
numbers, collecting race kit and being an all round helpful guy.
Saturday Night Supper
The whole club sat down to eat in a private room in the hotel for the
National supper, it was good to see old friend Bill Foster again and a good
time was had by all.
Saturday Night in Oceania
I was utterly twisted and can't remember anything as Ben Harding and Steve
Cooper will testify when they saw the state of me the next day.
Breakfast in the Hotel Sunday morning
I stayed in bed and missed it, see above
Swimming pool, Steam Room, Sauna and Gym in the Hotel
I stayed in bed and missed it, see above
Up the heath
The following photos from Ewa Wiltshire
The following photos from Tom Desborough