A glorious sunny day greeted Belgrave’s Junior athletes as they pitched up for the start of the Surrey Cross Country League, only three miles separating the Girls at Wimbledon and the Boys at Richmond. The ground was rock hard at both locations, but don’t worry guys, there’ll be plenty of mud in the coming months.
At Wimbledon we had our two cross country regulars, U15’s Juliette Michot and Maddy Whitman, lining up alongside first timer U13 Lina Colas. All three did well, with Maddy coming home in 12th place and Juliette in 35th.
Despite being the only two members of the Belgrave Junior Girls U15 team, and with other clubs managing a full team of four, we managed a creditable 5th A team placing from 12. Lina finished in 28th place in the U13’s, in a very full field of 63, and by all accounts she’ll be back for more. I’ll be very surprised if she’s not top 10 in the coming months.
Meanwhile, over in Richmond, with our numbers down by two following a move up to the Senior squad for Joseph O’Clery and Timin Kanani (who was adamant all week that running 8k X/C was very much like levitating in mid-air, or walking on water, or seeing Newcastle United win the Premier League under Mike Ashley, i.e. much discussed but frankly impossible.)
Belgrave actually had FIVE U13 Boys competing, so barring a disaster we were slated to have a full U13 team finish. And in the event we placed 3rd, only 16 points behind winners Epsom and Ewell, with the Juxon twins our first two home, Monty in 4th place and Jago in 5th. With first timers Oliver Cunningham in 21st and Seb Cockerell in 28th, and that elderly veteran Max Simpson now in his second cross country season not far behind in 37th, our Boys performed splendidly.
In the U15 race, with Blaine Robinson moving up an age group and racing against boys much older than him, he decided to give the competition a bit of a head start when he was knocked to the ground within the first twenty metres and struggled to regain his feet, instead choosing to stay put to enable the entire field to save themselves from the grass by trampling over him instead. When he finally got back up Blaine put in a gritty performance to finish 18th. I suspect that he won’t let that happen again, and that there will be seventeen U15 athletes who will have a good view of Blaine’s back when we next turn out in November.