Saturday 4th November saw the Cross Country team travel to a new venue at Charlton Park, Malmesbury. Although it was quite a long way to travel, it was worth it as the race took place in the grounds of a lovely Stately home in Wiltshire. The excessive overnight rain had created perfect Cross Country conditions, the Juniors also helped to churn the mud up a bit more for us. However, luckily the rain had stopped before the race.

9 BPJ ladies and 1 BPJ man travelled to Charlton Park. The ladies race was just over 4 miles and entailed two laps containing a mixture of sticky mud, slippy mud, gravel, wind and undulations (I asked a Marshall if the course was hilly and he said “no just a bit up and down”).

There was a field of 184 runners, which included under 17 girls and over 65 men as well as senior and vet ladies. Annie Bird was first BPJ home in 32:39 and 53rd place overall, followed by Rebecca Terry in 35:14 and 89th position. Not far behind was Jane Fairlamb in 35:18 and 91st position. Ewelina Skolimowska was the next BPJ lady to finish in 35:48 and 103rd position. I was 2 positions behind Ewelina in 105th position and 36:14. Amy Stewart came in at 37:25 and 124th place, Cat Kelly was next in 40:10 and 152nd position. Imogen Harding (161st and 41:45) and Rachel Booth, who unfortunately lost her spikes in the mud a couple of times, (172nd and 45:27) completed the Ladies team.

Out of a total of 39 teams our A team finished in 20th position, B team in 28th position and our C team finished in 39th place. Our Masters Team came 10th out of 24 teams. Very encouraging results in testing conditions.

Ashley Taylor was the only male BPJ racing at Charlton Park and was treated to three laps of Charlton Park estate, which was even more churned up than when we raced. Ashley seemed to enjoy the race, although his heel was hurting, but he carried on and finished in 202nd place.

Next weekend sees the BPJ men travel to Telford for the first Birmingham League fixture of the Season, where they’ll be battling to stay in the Second Division following promotion last Season. The BPJ ladies will be travelling to Coventry for the first race of the Midlands League, it gives us just enough time to clean and dry our Spikes before they get muddy again!

Lorraine Griffiths, Ladies Cross Country Team Captain