BUCS Cross Country Championships at Bicton College on Saturday 2 February
The South West of England was hard hit this week with a good dumping of snow
and temperatures well below freezing, resulting in the cancellation of a
couple of schools inter counties cross country races, some Park runs and
many other sporting fixtures. So it was particularly pleasing to see the
eagerly awaited BUCS cross country Championships given the go ahead, down on
the South coast of Devon at Exeter.
British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) Cross Country Championships
is the highlight of the of the winter fixtures and BBHAC ‘learned lot' were
out in good numbers representing their respective universities.
Bicton College, Devon, was a fantastic venue for the three race program and
welcomed approx.1500 motivated athletes, each seemingly sporting their
university colours with face paint, ribbons and various other colourful
Attention first to the tough task of racing over a challenging course but
with the prospect of a big night out afterwards to look forward to.
First up was the women’s race over 6.2k and with over 600 finishers the
atmosphere on and around the course was superb. The race was won by European
U23 3000m steeplechase Champion, Anna Moller, who competed for her native
Denmark in the 2016 summer Olympics and was running for the West London, St
Mary’s Uni. The field behind was made up of countless GB and England
internationals and it was fantastic to see our own Niamh Bridson Hubbard
(Cambridge) in the thick of it finishing in a very high 13th. Yasmin
Austridge (Birmingham) in her first BUCS experience was a solid 56th with
Jess Keene (Birmingham) looking strong in 65th. Lucy Elms (Birmingham) in
her maiden BUCS event was a great 117th, possibly inspired by her mum
Clare’s recent World indoor mile record. It was also great to see Leah
Everson (Bristol) running and finishing in 294th. PP Bill Foster was seen
dashing around the course all day and being the Loughborough ladies coach
would have been delighted with the team result that read as 1st
Loughborough, 2nd Birmingham and 3rd St Mary's.
Attention then turned to the Men’s A race which is made up of six runners
from each university with the first four home contributing to the team
score. The 10.3k three lap course couldn’t separate St Mary’s Emile Cairess
and Loughborough's Patrick Dever as they sprinted towards the uphill finish
in an unprecedented cross country finish. The announcer tried to call it and
may have leaned toward the Loughborough athlete, before the official
electronic result appeared, showing St Mary’s Cairess crossing the line
first, just 0.1 sec in front! A very exciting finish to a top class race.
Jacob Brown (Loughborough) was BBHAC highest finisher placing 25th. Charlie
Davis (Birmingham) put in a solid performance finishing well in a high 41st
with Josh Schofield (Leeds Beckett, team captain) placing a great 54th and
team mate James Habergham (Leeds Beckett) in 71st and great to see Richard
Webb (Cardiff) back running regularly again in 84th. Team result read as St
Mary's in 1, Cambridge 2 and Oxford 3.
The men’s B race run over 8.2k is equally competitive as the A race with the
same scoring criteria but allows for more than one scoring team per Uni.
Marco Arcuri running for his Durham Uni had a strong run placing 120th and
was supported by club member Alex Leggatt would took on the challenging role
of University Team Captain, a job requiring many skills from team selection,
hotel booking, team registration and declaration, through to the all
important booking of the social tickets for the entire uni team. Not a job
to be taken on lightly! Oscar Hussey (Warwick) proved it’s hard to keep a
good man down as he was present supporting, whilst still on the road to
recovery after suffering a nasty hockey injury.
A great British (and International) sporting day with a tremendous
supportive atmosphere followed by a ‘busy’ social night out for anyone
26 January 2019 - South of
England Championships - Parliament Hills
The South of England Cross Country Championships were
back at Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath for 2019, after last seasons
difficult fixture at Stanmer Park, Brighton, where a few clubs boycotted the
event for various reasons.
This once highly regarded meeting is slowly finding its feet again with a
now first class results service and having the benefit of one of the finest
cross country courses available. Unfortunately there was still a marshalling
error, resulting in the U17 boys going completely off course, seeing the
fast finishing pack lapping the back markers on the fast run in to the tape!
Blackheath and Bromley HAC numbers were down and this reflected in the
results with five age groups unable to field enough athletes to score in the
team competition. However, we did have three boys and three girls make the
top 20 with Oliver Bright and Tom Brash posting fine top 10 performances.
The U13 girls had good numbers running and a great run from Megan Slattery
saw her cross the line in 59th with Carys Firth in 65th and Gabby Martin
just behind in 69th. Emily Deveney was 149th, Amber Cockburn 173rd and SP
Maher 187th. Libby Whyte finished in 246th, with Katie Brash 256th and
Madeleine Marston rounding off in 300th. The girl’s team was 12th out of 39
Disappointingly the U13 boys only had two brave souls racing but the tough
two of Nathaniel Brunner and Oles Chaban coped well over the tough course
finishing 227th and 269th in a field of 330 young athletes.
The U15 girls finished the day with the highest team placing, securing 7th
from the 34 complete club teams. Annie Thomas had a great run and looked
strong in the run in, crossing the line in 17th with Naomi Toft just a few
seconds behind and a great 20th place. Lily Meers ran well finishing in 70th
with Hannah Clark in 87th, Cameron Kelly Gordon was 123rd, Olivia Wauters
159th and Isabella Louth in 167th. Abigail Smith was 229th and completing
the squad was Amelie Willars in 250th.
The U15 boys had the biggest turn out on the day with 10 athletes on the
starting line and were led home by Tom Brash having another great race
finishing in 10th. Freddy Georgiou was second BBHAC home in 89th with Matt
Smith 97th, George Shaw 121st and Will Andrews 142nd. Jake Anthony was
185th, Thomas Sugden 195th and Ted Marston 209th. Sam Reardon was going well
but had to pull out with a recurring leg problem, as did Sam Stuart,
unfortunately for both the problem occurred at the furthest point of the
course and so meant a slow, cold walk back to the BB tent.
The team’s effort were worthy of an 11th place team finish with 33 teams
fielding complete squad.
The U17 women had a team of four start the race with Sophie Hoare having a
great run placing 11th. Zoe White paced 56th and Ellie Osmond, despite
falling three times in the difficult ground conditions, did well placing
67th. Jess Neal is having a great season but will disappointed to have had
to pull out with a tight hamstring mid race, but this was a wise decision as
continuing would surely have caused more damage.
The U17 boys 6K race was meant to be made up of a small lap and a large lap
but unfortunately the first small lap was bypassed and somehow the field
meandered their way around a long loop, bringing themselves back on track to
complete the small loop at the end of the race! Not ideal, but as all were
running the same course the result stood. This must have been unsettling for
the leading group but they did well to continue racing and we saw an
exciting finish with just seconds separating the top 7 athletes. Great to
see our own Ollie Bright up with the pack battling it out securing a fine
7th place finish. Next up for BBHAC were Joel Rooney placing 64th and Alex
Davis 138th. Only three runners meant no team result.
Jess Keene was our only U20 lady running and did well finishing 22nd in a
Lewis Mills signed off his winter season with a solid 16th place finish,
moving through the field well. Theo Wood placed 81st and Ifetobi Salako in
only his second cross country race for the club finished 112th. Carlos Ohler
unfortunately missed the start of the U17 race but didn’t waste the
opportunity to run by joining in with the U20 race, but inevitable his
results didn’t show up.
Many thanks go to Club President Paul Byfield, Past president Dave Cordell
and Vice President Claire Austridge for getting to the course before 8am,
securing a perfect spot for the team tent, for all to benefit, and many
thanks to all who helped to take it down again after the senior men had
completed their 3 lap 15K race.
The return of the Southern XC Championships to
Parliament Hill proved to be handy for the squad as 13 hardened competitors
toed the line for the country's longest XC course (even though it proved to
be a km short).
Patience is key on Parliament Hill, and this was
evidenced by all of the leading 6 scorers as they each scythed their way
through the fields as more cavalier approaches saw others drop off. Will
Ruiz resumed his position at the front of the Blackheath pack with a finish
of 67th in his first senior Southern Champs. Keen to not be outdone, Alex
Gibbins put in a typically battling performance to place 118th, closely
followed by Rob Donohue in 126th as he backed up his effort in the Kent XC
Champs. Another debutante, Tom Desborough, continued his impressive season
by coming 225th, while the mysterious Danny Brewerá (according to SEAA)
bucked the trend of the other top 6 with a more aggressive first half than
second. In completing the sextet, Luca Ercolani invoked memories of his run
at the National last year by outlasting large swathes of the field to come
Gareth Evans executed his typically controlled
strategy to finish 417th in a late charge that overtook Ben Cockburn in
427th after the latter's valiant effort and recent illness saw him struggle
in the 2nd half. Jon Vintner followed on as part of his latest marathon
build up in 466th. Chris Tuck made a welcome return to racing after a recent
injury layoff to come 638th and kick start his own campaign for marathon
glory. Steve Hough celebrated his first run at the Southern Champs for years
by coming 800th exactly, an achievement that just alluded Rich Byford in
1001st, in a reminder to us all that you should always dip at the line. And
last but not least, Ian Taylor completed his return to racing in a sterling
A huge turnout of 1154 people ran and Blackheath came
an impressive 15th out of 77 teams of 6. Well done to everyone!
Up the Heath!
Ross, Dan & Chris
Photos from Paul Byfield
19 January 2019 - Kent Schools
Cross Country Championship, Dover
The keenly awaited Kent schools XC
Championship was once again held at the Duke of York’s Royal Military
School, Dover but this year the weather was sunny and very cold replacing
last year’s constant rain and cold!
The reward for running well at the
“schools” is a county vest and possible selection for the prestigious
English School XC Champs.
The top 4 finishers at Dover would automatically guarantee their ESAA team
spot, so competition was always going to be fierce.
Teams of eight will ultimately be selected to represent Kent in the English
Schools XC Champs (ESAA) but in the mean time many of the top finishers will
be invited to race in the up coming schools inter counties match, where the
top two Kent finishers (not already qualified) will guarantee their ESAA
The course was a well marked out grass circuit with a challenging up hill
drag and a few undulations, excellent for spectators!
Over 100 athletes toed the line in the junior girls (school years 8-9) 3.1k
race with eleven being Blackheath and Bromley HAC athletes. Hanna Clark had
a great run finishing 7th as did year 8 Carys Firth closing in a great 10th.
Cameron Kelly Gordon was 18th, Isabella Louth a solid 20th and Olivia
Wauters 25th. International race Walker Abigail Smith was 31st, Olivia Magee
Brown 37th and SP Maher 41st. Next home for the Bromley team was Amelie
Willars in 48th followed by Libby Whyte in 61st and Sian Smith in 67th.
Nine BBHAC boys lined up for the junior boys 4k race. Matt Smith showed
early form as a talented U13 before suffering a nasty ankle injury, but has
persevered with his rehab and was rewarded for his efforts with a stunning
run placing 3rd in a talented field, securing automatic selection for the
ESAA. George Shaw was equally impressive working hard right through the
finish line placing a pleasing 6th and must be in with a great chance of
selection. Arthur Starvis continues to perform well and finished 35th, with
Ted Marston in 54th just in front of Thomas Sugden in 55th. Harry Burgess
crossed the line in 69th, Nathaniel Brunner was 73rd whilst club sprinter
Adam Islam Medeaux, not quite used to the distance looked comfortable in
100th. Race walker and club hurdler Jonny Ellerton finished in 107th
completing the Bromley schools squad.
BBHAC Inter girls (yrs 10-11) are a very strong age group so no surprise to
see 6 in the top 14. Morgan Squibb in 3rd and Jess Neal in 4th both ran well
enough to secure automatic selection and Ellie Dolby in 6th and Daniella
Harper in 8th must be in with a great chance having both performed well. Zoe
White was a strong 13th with Olivia Berry just behind in 14th. Ella Deighton
finished in 21st, Emily Davis 29th and Kelsey Pullin 31st completing the
Next up were the Inter boys and Tom Brash ran sensibly over the 6k course
timing his efforts well, finishing strong in 5th, knocking on the Kent
team’s door. Jake Leng ran well crossing the line in 27th and good to see
Will Andrews running well again finishing with pace in 34th.
We had no senior girls racing and only two senior boys venturing out over
the 7k course with Joe Georgiadis placing 23rd and Cameron Swatton 28th.
The KSAA gives an opportunity for year 7 athletes to race but although they
are too young to compete at the ESAA they do get an early opportunity of
representing Kent. The top 15 or so being rewarded with a Kent call up,
competition was going to be tough, in fields of well over 100 athletes. In
the girls 2.5k race Tallulah Ndikanwu ran really well pacing 6th as did
Amber Cockburn finishing high up in10th and Islay Pearson was 51st. In the
boys 3k race Josh Healy led the boys home with a great run in 18th, Jasper
Brooks was 20th, Harry Fage had a determined run and finished 38th and club
pole vault record holder Finn Kitteridge used the opportunity to put in a
hard training run, placed 112th.
Some of our athletes go to school in neighbouring counties and so contest
their respective titles.
Next up is the Schools Inter Counties match where many of our youngster will
get to wear the Kent, (Surrey, Middlesex and others) vest with pride.
Competing at county level in any sport is impressive, more so in the highly
competitive world of athletics.
2018 - South of Thames Champs - Beckenham Place Park
Results from Saturday's South of Thames 7.5
miles(ish) @ Beckenham:
Team was 11th - of those clubs with 6 runners or more
Full BBHAC competitors: 366 finishers
Gareth Evans M40
Luca Ercolani M45
Len Crowder M50
Nigel Haffenden M50
Steve Hough M45
Steve Pairman M55
Sally Haffenden W45
Rod Harrington M50
So on Saturday a hardcore group of Heathens made the
short trip to Beckenham Place Park for the South of the Thames 7.5 miles
In what was a bitterly wet and cold afternoon and with
the first lap being a chaotic affair due to marshalling errors. Well done to
everyone that toughed it out and turned out a Blackheath team of 10 senior
men and 1 lady.
Leading the team home was the ever improving Tom
Desborough who seems to be showing that stopping the university party
lifestyle is beneficial to your running.
Next home making his way through the pack as the race
went on was Gareth Evans. If he had known where the finish was might have
finished further forward. Next came Luca Ercolani and team Manager Dan
The packing continued as Len Crowder, Nigel Haffenden,
Steve Hough and Steve Pairman all came home in what for the manager trying
to write the results down with freezing hands felt like a mad rush.
Rod Harrington was next in and due to the conditions
would have been wise to not stop at the finish line and just keep running
back to his front door.
Leading the charge for the V45s was Luigi Arcuri being
watched on by Marco in a reversal of their more usual dynamic.
A shout out also to Sally Haffenden for being the sole
reprsentitive for the senior lady team.
Well done everyone. Sorry I can’t confirm results yet
but will do my best to get them out as soon as possible.
Well done everyone and Happy Christmas. See you at the
Ross, Dan and Chris.
1 December 2018 - Kent Masters -
Central Park Dartford
Alex Gibbins was the winner.
set of results at the Kent Vets.
Alex Gibbins won the M40 in impressive style, Jennie Butler won silver in
W45, Carole won bronze in W35, Maz won bronze in W65 and M60s (Con, Luigi
and Rob) won bronze in M60!
Photos from Steve Pairman
2018 - Beckenham Charity 10k Trail event
Somewhat lower standard than Dina...…….but BBHAC
retained the team prize on Sundays Charity 10k in Beckenham.
3rd place Luca Ercolani Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC 59 MV40 00:39:14
4th place Chris Tuck Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC 192 MS 00:40:17
18th place Steve Pairman Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC 144 MV50 00:45:25
Luca was 3rd and Luigi won the M60!
More info here...
2018 - National Cross Country Relays at
Berry Hill Park, Mansfield was once again the perfect
setting for 2018 National Cross Country Relays and having won many age group
titles over the last few years year, BB’s hopes were high. These relays
offer a great opportunity for clubs to compete in a team format, in an
otherwise individual sport. Clubs are restricted to a maximum of three teams
per age group and in some age groups we could easily field up to five teams
if allowed, so competition is fierce, however in others age groups we fail
to have one team on the starting line!
Our U15 girls is the largest and most competitive
squad and have dominated the age group winning gold and silver in 2016 and
2017 and so it was no surprise to see all three of our teams feature high up
the field. Unfortunately no medals this year but the A team of Annie Thomas,
Naomi Toft and Zakia Mossi were a high 5, the B team of Lara Mannes, Hannah
Clark and Kate Price 10th and impressively the C team of Ellie Dolby,
Daniella Harper and Olivia Berry were 19th in front of all the other B
teams. To put that into perspective 96 teams were competing. A very large
and talented age group indeed.
The U15 boys made a great team effort with Sam Reardon
powering off on leg 1, passing to the in-form Tom Brash knocking 30 seconds
off last years time, giving Freddy Georgiou the job of bringing the team
home in a very solid 7th place. The B team of Will Andrews running 50
seconds quicker than 2017, George Shaw and Matt Smith placed 47th and Jake
Anthony had a great leg in the incomplete C team. 93 teams finished.
The U13 girls trio of India Blakey, Biancamaria
Polloni and Gabby Martin were a good 14th. The B team three of Carys Firth
and sisters Cara and Amie Gould were 40th and making up an incomplete C team
were Alexia Araujo and Olivia Magee-Brown.
The U13 boys have been unlucky with a few injury
problems lately and were unable to field a team.
The U17 girls made up for last year’s disappointment
of not recording a time, by storming around the 2.5K route and crossing the
line in second place winning a fabulous silver medal. Newly crowned World
Biathle relay champion Morgan Squibb on 1, Sophie Hoare on 2 and Ava White
on 3 made up the A team while the B team featured Jess Neal on 1, Amy Miller
on 2 and Lucrezia Polloni on 3 combined fantastically finishing an
impressive 8th The C team of Ellie Osmond, Emily Davis and Zoe White were
The U17 boys had three great teams and the A team of
former National XC relay champion Peter Guy on the first leg, Matthew
Francis on two and Oliver Bright on three combining well to finish 11th. The
B team of Ben Gardiner on 1, Cameron Swatton running 25 seconds quicker than
last year on 2 and another former Nation XC relay champion Joe Georgiadis on
3 ran well finishing 32nd. The C team were 54th and saw Harry Fisher lead
them off with Robert Suckling taking leg 2 and Bailey Marks bringing the
team home on the glory leg. Harvey Blanden made up an incomplete team but
ran hard at his second Nation XC champs.
The U20 women won silver at last year’s champs and
this year's team kept up the high standard finishing a very strong 6th.
Yasmin Austridge led off on 1, passing to Millie Smith on 2 handing to Lucy
Elms on 3 finishing well in a field full of strong clubs.
The U20 men were one short of the three to make up a
complete team but that didn’t stop Callum Myatt flying around the
undulating, well marked out course handing to the well travelled Marco
Arcuri, who had automatically stepped in to team manage some of the younger
age groups before his race.
The senior men were impressive fielding two teams and
placing high up in 13th and great to see our very own Dr Phil Sesemann
crossing the line in first place in the senior mens race, running for his
new but now local club Leeds AC, as he is working and living in Leeds.
Also good to see our local rivals Tonbridge not only
win their first National medal but a gold one at that as they comfortably
won the senior woman’s race.
Many thanks must go to all the parents who travelled
many miles to get to Mansfield and especially to Paul Brash who drove a
minibus full of teenage boys listening to teenage music, a real joy! Great
efforts from Marco, Yasmin and Lucy who all travelled from their University
by train, in fact many trains, as the journey from Durham and Birmingham to
Mansfield is not direct. Thanks also go to Nick Swatton, Nigel Stickings,
Paul Brash, Andy Frankish, Richard White, Tony Dolby and Marco for team
managing on the day, ensuring correct numbers and timing chips were issued
and that athletes arrived at the start on time.
Our president, Paul Byfield is having a great presidential year and spent
another long day on club duty arriving on site before 9am putting up the
tent along with ever present Dave Cordell and Ken Daniel. All three were
then last to leave at the end of the day once both club tents were
dismantled and packed away. Dave and Ken are used the cold and mud coming
from an endurance background but track and field based President Paul must
be having a culture shock but has thrown himself into the deep end, getting
full stuck in. Well done Mr President.
Two strong Blackheath teams made their way into the
mysterious territory north of the river and carried on going to the northern
heartland of Mansfield for the final national competition of the calendar
year in the form of yet another relay.
After a smooth drive up and the reassurance that
everyone who needed to be there was available, it was straight down to
business. Will Ruiz got the A team off to a flying start with an assured run
on his debut for the seniors at this fixture to place 54th, underlying his
return to form after a delayed start to the season. This set up his namesake
Will Fuller to deliver one of the runs of the day to make up an astonishing
35 places to bring the team up to 19th in scorching 15:15.30. In previous
years that might have been the high point for the team because no one would
have been able to build on the work of the team's best runner, but this time
it was different as team manager Ross Braden promptly gained 6 places in a
big performance to clock just under 16 minutes. This was then solidified by
an even quicker leg from Josh Schofield, in only his second run as a first
claim Heathen, to keep the team in 13th despite the attentions of a fast
finishing Mo Aadan.
Meanwhile, running parallel with the A Team (at least
to start with) Tom Desborough, having heroically made his way to Norman Park
for the drive up at the ungodly hour of 9 am, took advantage of the company
on the first leg to run the B Team's fastest time of 17:47 to leave them in
85th. Heath Anthony strode on from there in a measured and assured
performance to keep the team in a useful 90th at halfway. Chris Tuck then
put recent injury troubles behind him to make up an impressive 14 places to
drag the team into the top half in 76th. Finally, Dan Kennedy closed things
out in his first race for over a month to make up 4 more places to leave the
team 72nd out of the 153 complete teams.
The final positions and times were as follows:
13th Blackheath & Bromley Harriers A
54th W. Ruiz 16:34.30
19th W. Fuller 15:15.30
13th R. Braden 15:59.70
13th J. Schofield 15:50.65
72nd Blackheath & Bromley Harriers B
85th T. Desborough 17:46.75
90th H. Anthony 19:07.70
76th C. Tuck 18:09.90
72nd D. Kennedy 18:20.60
Full results can be found here:
Up the Heath!
Ross, Dan & Chris