Saturday 2nd December saw the BPJ Men and Ladies Cross Country teams racing at the same venue – Wellcombe Hills, Stratford.  It was the second race for both of our leagues and possibly one of the toughest venues.  There was a great turn out for both teams, with 13 ladies and 18 men competing for the club.

As usual the ladies race was first and 192 ladies competed in our division, with a further 207 racing from Division 1.  We all assembled together at the bottom of the first hill and once the whistle blew, off we went.  The hill was the type that keeps on giving, when you think you’re at the top, it keeps on going up. Finally, we turned into a very uneven field where there was a respite of downhill sections, one of the downhills was especially steep.  Before long we were climbing uphill again and out of the field and into the next one.  The following fields consisted of uneven ground, mounds, downhills, uphills and a lot of zig-zagging.  After 2 miles we got to the end of the last lap and it was time to go back up the first hill and repeat it all again!

Sophie Booth was once again the first home for the Ladies team in 28:25 and 8th position in Division 2.  Sally Dring (24th) and Emily Seward (25th) came in within 1 second of each other, with Sarah Kellett not far behind (30th).  Nichola Robinson was next BPJ lady (46th), with Ewelina Skolimowska (82nd) and myself (88th) next to finish.  Jess Hathaway (97th), Lindsey Goodrum (106th), Katy Eacock (112th), Cat Kelly (125th), Emma Kerton (184th) and Claire Moten (188th) completed the team.    It was a great team performance and secured us second place out of 24 teams, which saw us improve on finishing as third placed team, at the first race.

The men’s race followed soon afterwards and they were treated to 3 laps of the challenging course.  288 men lined up for the Division 2 race and they were soon battling it out up the hill.  Adam Jackson was the leading BPJ and seemed to keep his 7th position for most of race, demonstrating great pacing and finishing in 36.06.  Matt Davis was the next BPJ in 57th place, closely followed by Paul Childs in 59th place.  Toby Whitfield and Jon Newey were next to finish in 73rd and 75th positions.  Chris Attwood wasn’t far behind in 79th then Jay Warner in 108th, Paul Evans in 124th, Matt Moon in 127th.  Nick Hooper was 140th, Dan Manning in 144th, Chris Harris and Darrin Lynn were close finishing in 159th and 160th.  Marcus Mingings was 167th, Nick Eacock in 181st, Matt Rendall 184th, Nick Adams 195th and Chris Berry in 231st position.

The mens team put in a great team performance too, with the “A” team finishing 8th out of 17 teams and the “B” team finishing 7th out of 13th teams.  These results should secure the team’s future in Division 2 after their recent promotion.

We’re already half way through the Cross Country season, having completed 2 Gloucestershire League races and 2 Midland/Birmingham League races.  The next race is this Sunday for the Gloucestershire League, it is a rare Sunday fixture and takes place at Wootton Under Edge.  Following this, the Worcestershire County Championships take place on 6th January at Warley Woods, Smethwick.  If you would like to join the Cross Country team contact Chris Harris (Mens Team Captain) or myself (Ladies Team Captain) and experience the camaraderie and strength training it offers.

Lorraine Griffiths