Gloucestershire Cross Country League 1 - 30/10/21

03 November 2021

 Cheltenham and County Harriers came out in force this weekend to welcome back the Gloucestershire Cross Country League. The first fixture of the season was held in Cirencester Park and although the rain poured leading up to the event the sun eventually came out making for a brilliant, muddy, hilly day of proper cross country racing. 

The U11s kicked the day off and Martha Marsden made it a dream start to the season with an amazing win in the U11Gs race pulling 9 seconds clear of 2nd place. Marsden also led the team home to 1st place with the support of Lucy Perry in 4th and Eleanor Thomson in 7th. The B team placed 3rd team overall and 1st B team thanks to Hattie Bennet in 8th, Ivy Wightman in 10th and Kimberley Hodgkinson in 11th. Isla Harvey and Sophie Gaskell also ran brilliantly to finish in 16th and 29th respectively. 

(Photo: U11Gs getting ready to race)

Harrison Tyrell was our first U11B across the line in 12th place 6 seconds ahead of Arthur’s Roberts in 17th and 8 seconds ahead of George Phillimore in 18th. The combined runs created a 4th place team finish. Harrison Jones and Milo Parsons ran well to finish in 31st and 40th.


The U13B secured a 2nd place team finish led by Elijah Marsden in 5th. Tom Wightman was just one place back in 6th and Jack Pennell finished 8th. Harry Knight was just behind his teammates with a 12th place finish.

10 U13Gs took to the start line and demonstrated incredible strength in depth with the A Team finishing 1st, the B Team 2nd (1st B Team) and C Team 5th (1st C Team). Having impressed at the Midland and National Road Relays a few weeks ago all eyes were on Maddie Thomson in Cirencester. The Harrier did not disappoint, running a confident race to take the victory by 8 seconds. Scarlett England, Rosie Reynolds and Bluebell Heath-Smith battled hard the whole race eventually finishing in 6th, 7th and 8th. Verity Lilley was next across the line in 10th and Evie Avery finished just ahead of her sister, Olivia Avery, in 15th and 16th respectively. Jessica Sheppard was 21st, Freya Braiden was 25th and Amber Flatman was 31st. 


(Photo: All smiles from the U13Gs pre-race)

The next age group to take to the mud was the U15s, in the boys race there was a 2nd place team finish with 3 superb runs from Dominic Martin in 3rd, Sam Wilson in 4th and Freddie Coombe in 14th. 

The U15Gs A team took 1st place and were supported by the B team in 5th (1st B team). Evie Henderson ran a smart race to come in 3rd, with Kate Mills not far behind in 5th. Amelie Paul was the final scorer for the A team in 8th. One of the most impressive runs of the day came from Abigail Thornley. Thornley ran half the muddy, hilly, stoney race with just one shoe on but was determined to finish regardless of the set back and fought hard for a brilliant 13th place. There were also determined runs from Isobel Burfitt, Milly Foster and Seraphim Leftley in 17th, 19th and 22nd. 


(Photo: Abigail Thornley one shoe on, one shoe in hand)

The next race to go ahead was the combined Senior, U20 and U17 Women race that also includes the M65+ runners. England U17 Steeplechase Champion, Kiya Dee, wasn’t phased by facing senior opponents and took the lead round the first of 2 laps. Dee looked as comfortable as ever over the tough course and despite eventually being caught Dee finished an impressive 2nd overall and 1st U17. Ciara Thornley was another impressive U17, pushing hard from the gun and holding her own through the 2 lap despite running solo, to eventually finish in 11th overall and 3rd U17. Rachel See completed the A team finishing in 13th to secure a 2nd place team finish. Dee and Thornley also formed 2/3rds of the U20 team that took 2nd place, they were joined by Chloe Sheppard who finished in 38th overall and 7th U17. Molly Dibden and Freya Howell also made the step up to the senior race and ran fantastically to finish in 65th overall (9th U17) and 70th overall (10th U17) respectively. 

Impressively there were4 Harrier women’s teams; the B team finished 9th (3rd B team), the C team was 10th (1st C eam) and the D team was 17th (1st D team). Caddie Hibberd led the B team across the line in 19th, Petra Vymetalova was 35th (6th L35) and Ellie Balfe was just behind in 37th (7th L35). Vickie Wilkinson returned to racing after a long absence to finish 39th (2nd L45), Sarah Sheppard was 52nd (6th L40) and Nicola Whiteman was 56th (7th L40) to complete the C team. Clare Hawling took 80th (5th L55) to lead the D team in, Nicola Knight was 83rd (10th L45) and Holly Derrick was 88th. Joan Shaw and Mel Schofield also ran well to finish in 106th (9th L55) and 110th respectively. The women also produced two vets teams with the A team of Vymetalova, Balfe and Wilkinson taking 2nd and the B team of Sheppard, Whiteman and Hawling coming in 5th (1st B team). 

Michael Ede ran amazingly well over the gruelling course to win the M65 race 

(Photo: The start of the Senior, U20, U17 womens and M65+ race)

After the previous races churned up the already muddy course the senior men then had the pleasure of racing over 3 full laps. Despite being only an U20 the longer race suited Jamie Bell who had impressed in the Cheltenham Half Marathon earlier in the year. Bell ran a confident race and wasn’t at all intimidated by his more experienced rivals, finishing in 13th overall and first Harrier. The next Harrier in was Andy Gore who moved his way through the field to finish in 33rd and 2nd M50. Dan Minors and Martin Foster finished within 30 seconds of one another in 56th (6th M50) and 61st (9th M45). Finishing off the Harriers contingency was Matt Evans in 96th, Steve Bradley in 123rd (13th M50) and Ross Swain in 126th. The team finished a solid 9th while the vets team took 5th.

(Photo: Senior men before the race)