27 February 2020
Wollaton Park, Nottingham
Photos start here...
National Cross Country, Nottingham, 2020
The National XC 2020 was another spectacle but this year in very
challenging conditions under foot and over head with 40mph winds and muddy
sections deep enough to swim in!
Wollaton Park, Nottingham, glorious in the summer but
brutal in the winter, was this year’s venue for the prestigious National and
Blackheath and Bromley athletes were once again out in great numbers at what
is the oldest Cross Country Championship in the world.
day started early and despite last minute changes to arrangements by the
organisers (due to saturated grounds and high winds) the club tent was soon
proudly flapping in a great location after a mammoth effort by Club
President, Olympian Julian Golding, past presidents Ken Daniel and Pat
Calnan and all of the parents and athletes. Battling the wind all did a
great job of pitching and securing our base for the day and at times it seem
it may not have lasted the day as huge gusts battered the course.
First to brave the quagmire conditions were the U17 girls
running 5k and their strong squad of nine combined superbly to win a
fantastic team silver, sharing the same score as gold but just missing out
on count back. Naomi Toft ran brilliantly finishing 14th, Ailbhe Barnes was
an impressive 19th, Ava White a great 35th and completing the scoring four
was Annie Thomas in 51st. Isabelle Stoneham was a strong 55th followed in by
Zoe White in 84th, Amy Miller 92nd, Zakia Mossi 105th and Jess Neal 150th.
The U15 boys running over a 4k course finished as 13th
scoring team and were led home by Alessio Tutt running a mature and
controlled race placing a high 40th. Matt Smith running hard placed 79th and
Miles Brown running his first National for the club was 139th. Ted Marston
was 211th, George Shaw on his continued come back was 286th and Nathaniel
Brunner in his first National was 348th.
The U13 girls had 3k of challenging terrain to negotiate and Megan Slattery
coped well crossing the line in a high 26th with Francesca Middleton a great
51st, Amie Gould 54th and India Blakey 80th. These combined finishing
positions saw the girls place a great 6th in the team competition. Megan
Barlow was a good 101st and Luciana Smith, in her first year of three in
this age group ran well in 104th. Emily Deveney, celebrating her 13th
birthday was 132nd. Charlotte Bloodworth, another young athlete with three
years in this age group not only made her National debut but also her club
and cross country debut and she handle the tough conditions well, placing a
great 185th. Completing the squad was Yasmeen Islam Medeaux doing a few
firsts: National, cross country race, club race and wearing spikes and coped
very well, outside of her comfort zone, placing 308th.
The U17 boys had a gruelling 6k to run and schools international Oliver
Bright produced the club’s highest individual result with a superb 6th place
finish, mixing it with the best guys in the country and beating most of
them. Tom Brash, as all, found the going tough but ran well to secure 101st
and Joel Rooney ran well finishing 134th. BBHAC then packed the field with
seven boys all battling for places and Jake Leng led them home in 207th with
Will Andrews in 212th, Freddy Georgiou 228th, Justin Stover 232nd Callum
Horton on his National debut in 239th, Bailey Marks in 259th and Harvey
Blanden in 273rd. These great numbers meant an 11th place finish for squad.
The pressure was on the U13 boys squad of four, as all were going to be
needed to score in the team competition. Alex Middleton went off with the
leading pack and looked fairly effortless (although it clearly wasn’t) as he
powered to a top 10 finish, placing a superb 10th in his first National,
very impressive. The English Cross Country Association rules state that
athletes must be 11 to compete in this competition and primary school boy
Lucas Elmqvist has waited all winter to race, missing all the Kent league,
Kents and Southerns because he was only 10! Last Thursday Lucas had his 11th
birthday and so was eligible to run and we thought a top half finish in a
field of nearly 400 could be achievable if he worked hard. Lucas was having
none of this as he went off with the leading 50 in the front pack. Lucas
kept going, seemingly oblivious to the conditions and kept passing athletes
as they tired. Coming down the last hill Lucas kept pushing and surprised
everyone (except himself) with a top 20 finish placing an almost
unbelievable 19th. Superb. Lucas has two more years in this age group!
Franco Hillier has had a good winter and kept our team hopes alive with a
strong 148th and Harry Fage ran determinedly to complete the team result
finishing 220th and more importantly helping the team to a 9th place finish
out of 44th complete teams.
The next 4k challenge was for the U15 girls and the first of the big BB
squad home was Lara Mannes having run superbly to finish a high 12th. Lily
Meers was a fine 31st, her highest National finish. Carys Firth continued
her fine form and posted her best National finish with a great 51st followed
by Hannah Clark bettering last year’s position in 62nd. These results
combined to win a brilliant team bronze. The squad strength in depth was
shown by quality runs from Gabby Martin in 72nd, Kate Price in 91st, Olivia
Magee Brown in 146th, Cara Gould in 208th, S.P. Maher in 287th and Isabella
Louth in 300th. Amelia Willars finished in 316th and Emily De Backer crossed
the line in 342nd despite losing and finding her timing chip and carrying it
across the line! Amelia Middleton completed the large U15 contingent in
346th. Sofia Loader was making her debut on this tough course but sadly
ended up with the paramedics after injuring her shoulder. However, a great
experience and many more opportunities to come.
The junior women U20’s had 6k of mud to wade through and Yasmin Austridge
ran well to finish in 23rd and Amy Leach continued her strong form with a
80th place finish. Four were need for the team score so unfortunately no
U20's in the team result.
The junior men had the daunting task of completing 10k in these tough
conditions and three of our U20’s put in good performances with Callum Myatt
113th, Theo wood 140th and Matthew Francis 143rd. We were looking good for a
fourth finisher but unfortunalty Ifetobi Salako had to pull out during the
race, nothing too serious and he hopes to be back running again very soon.
At last year’s National in Leeds we had no senior women racing at all, so it
was good to see a couple of BBHAC vests up the front of the action with Jo
Hickman Dunn placing a solid 64th and Jess Keene a good 174th in a field of
We were lucky enough to have “coach driver of the year” as he allowed the
young athletes back on the warm, dry coach without having to struggle taking
off foot-ware The coach looked a little like the course but after a thorough
clean up Dave had it all spic and span for the journey home the next day.
Thank you Dave.
It was then back to the hotel to shower (we hope) before a swim and a table
tennis tournament before double dinner (hotel food then McD’s!) and Emily’s
We are well supported club and that was evident by the President and nine
past presidents in attendance scattered around the course giving much needed
support to our athletes.
Thank you Julian Golding (President) and all the past
presidents Chris Haines, Mike Peel, Tim Soutar, John Baldwin, Margaret
Baldwin, Mike Mahoney, Bill Foster, Ken Daniel and Pat Calnan and partners
Terri Shotton and Jan Mahoney for all your help and support during this big
weekend. Many thanks to Nigel Stickings and Michele for their 50 hour solid
stint ensuring our athletes were safe and best prepared to compete.
More photos are online - register with run number and pics will load
- free pic registration here
- entry lists here with numbers
Huge congratulations to all who took part in what was the
muddiest national in years. The conditions really were something to behold.
It was great to have such a good turn out for a race outside the M25 and
even with a few injuries, illnesses and no shows we still managed to field
more than enough scorers with 16 runners turning out and also providing us
with our highest team finish since 2013.
First home was Charlie Davis rather impressively in his senior national
debut making light work of the mud in 29th place.
Not far behind and continuing his strong form shown all season was team
manager Ross Braden in 39th.
After much nagging and peer pressure James Habergham was convinced to run a
few meters further than his usual 800 and showed this was a wise decision
coming back in 120th.
Tom Desborough then demonstrated that spending 7 days a week in the gym is
paying dividends with a 262nd place.
Alex Gibbins then came round in what we are lead to believe was his 17th
time of contributing to the 6 to score at the national in 306th.
Team manager Dan Kennedy then rounded off the 6 to score with a 336th place.
Rob Donohue continued his comeback in 435th. Fintan Parkinson in 691st.
Josh Dowlings season keeps getting better with a 711th place completing the
9 to score. Greg Firth followed up in 787th.
The mud took its toll on 1 Heathen as Richard Daniels lost his chip in the
quagmire but estimation is that he came back in 810th.
Jon Vintner didn't let the recently acquired jewellery on his left hand drag
him down with an 894th place.
Chris Tuck came back in 1065th. Richard Byford managed to get one over his
old rival Tim Ayres in 1317th and 1455th respectively.
Last but by no means least Richard Hall crossed the line in 1495th to
complete the Heathans big day out.
Final placings have us in 14th in the 6 to score and 16th in 9 to score.
Huge thanks to everyone who made the trip up. Team managing is a much more
enjoyable experience when attendance is high.
Also great to have a few beverages in the bright lights of Nottingham as
Ross, Dan and Chris