Kent Cross Country League, Tonbridge – 23rd October 2021

The 2nd race in the Kent Cross Country League was run over a tough, hilly, 8 km course at Somerhill School, Tonbridge.  Medway & Maidstone AC were out in force again with 18 runners, although there were quite a few individual changes from the first race.  The team’s 4-to-score team slipped from 2nd in the first race to 3rd this time (out of 19 teams), although this was only on the last runner count back rule. Tonbridge AC were dominant once again taking first team place, with 10 runners in the first 12. M & M were, once again second the 12-to-score team (out of 8 teams).

M&M were led by Tom Collins in 14th place, with Ethan Gear (U20) in 15th, Anthony Webb (M45) once again the top overall Master in 18th and to close the 4-to-score team, Mark Wilkins (M40). The next runners completing the 12-to-score team were led bythe improving Jayden Iles in only his second cross-country race in 40th. Iles was followed by Tewelde Menges, who is normally competing for the top places, but was in 43rd this time after being abroad for several weeks, then in quarantine.  Johnathan Whittall was in 48th, chased by Neil Wright (M45) in 49, Noel Lyons (first overall M50) in 50th, Chris Rampling 54th, Jack Crossley (M40) 57th and Daniel St Martin in 63rd.  Excellent back-up was provided by Gareth Williams (M55) in 67th, Sean Rodwell 82nd, Barry Royden (M50) 83rd, Owen Featherstone 88th, Mark Smith (M45) 110th and Bob Fursey (M55) 177th.  There were 256 finishers.

The next Kent League race for the Senior Men is at Foots Cray Meadows on the 27th November.  Before that is the British Masters 10 Km Road Championships, which this year are local at the Cyclopark, Gravesend, 21st November. With so many good masters, the club should be out in force for this one.

Hayden Gear had another excellent and gutsy run winning his second race of the season and topping the  U17 men’s league position. Dylan Leach (15th), Cameron Featherstone (22nd), Callum Featherstone (25th) and Jacob Graham (28th) completed the U17 Team that placed 4th  on the day and are 3rd overall in the team event. The Under 20 men placed 2nd in the team event. Sean Barwick (11th), Alex Donnelly (13th) and Isaac Thomas (14th) completing the team.

The Under 15 boys saw Alex Dack finish 2nd with another outstanding performance over the hilly Tonbridge 4000m course after his win at  Swanley. Equally strong performances from Riley Maisey 3rd) Theo Ronchetti (4th) and Franklin Shepherd in 8th place. This leaves the boys currently in first place after 2 matches.

In the U13 boys race over 3000m.  Owen Tucker performed brilliantly to finish in 6th place. With teammates Reuben Sarakbi (33rd) and Jake Alford (37th) to finish the 3 to score team. They were followed in by Alex Anderson (39th), Sam Fowler (47th) Louie Gear (53rd) Sebastian Charilaou (57th) and Luca Gratwick (60th).

The women now competing over the same distance of 8000m as the men. First in for M&M Liz Weeks (W40) (24th), Antel Muller (27th) and Vera Hunter (W35) (30th) to complete the 3 to score team. Strongly backed up by Taryne McPherson (W45) 38th,  Jenny Fowler (W45) (48th) Vanessa Vander (W35), (63rd) to complete the 6 to score. Closely followed by Karen Cudmore (W45) 67th, Cat Rodwell (102nd) and Kat Ford (W35) (116th).

M&M had 6 Under 17 women competing on the notoriously hilly course, with some great individual performances once again.  Abigail Royden, Ella Webb and Lily Crossley all improved upon their excellent Swanley Park performances by finishing in 5th, 7th and 8th place respectively. They were followed by Annabel Young in 19th, Ingrid Linn finishing her first cross country for M&M in 27th and Ciara Harrop finishing in 32nd place. The excellent performances from the top 3 athletes meant M&M finished second in the Under 17 Women team event on the day.

In the Under 20 Women’s event, M&M were represented by Billie Rouse who finished in 5th place.

The Medway and Maidstone AC Under 13 and Under 15 Girls teams made it a clean sweep. The M&M girls’ strength and determination shone through over the gruelling, hilly course

In the Under 13 girls race, Rose Crossley led the M&M team home, finishing in third place overall with a gutsy performance over the 3000m course. Sophia Cudmore-Smith and Sienna Mabb followed on with some brilliant running to make up the winning team. The strength in depth of M&M team was clear to see with fantastic performances from Sienna Gratwick, Mia Blaber, Maisie Graham and Mary-Anne Sawyer. After 2 league fixtures the Under 13 Girls are joint top of the league – its all to play for in the next two races.

The M&M girls dominated the Under 15 Girls race securing both first and second place, and with 7 athletes in the top 20 finishers over the 4000m course. Natalia Austin showed her class to lead the M&M team home in 1stplace, Iris Crossley ran through the field to secure 2nd place and Millie Dack finished in 13thto make up the winning team. Brimming with talent, the U15 Girls packed together well with 4 more athletes finishing in the top 20: Beth Palmer (15th), Amber Mathews (16th), Macey Swayer (17th) and Heidi Hughes (19th). There were strong performances from Mercedes McGivern, Abigail Hawkes, Erin Marsh, Elizabeth Fry, Sophie Stratford and Molly Marsh over the tough undulating course. After 2 league fixtures, the Under 15 Girls are in second place in the league – just one point behind Blackheath and Bromley.