Whilst the Senior Men’s race was the last event of the day, starting at 2:45pm, the day began early for the team. Having a niggling cough the day before the race Johnny Cornish attempted a short run first thing, only to find he was still coughing. Given the current circumstances, Johnny did not wish to potentially infect other athletes, so reluctantly he withdrew from the race.
Reserve athletes had been asked to maintain their training in the lead up to the event in case there were last minute withdrawals. Shun Watanabe stepped in at 8:40am on the morning of the race saying ‘it was an honour to represent Oxfordshire County.’ What a hero!
Being the last race for the day meant the course had been well and truly dug up by the earlier races and the going was very heavy due to clinging mud for much of the course. The race was advertised as a 10km cross country, however the lap had changed and the eventual distance was more like 11.2km. It was a true cross country course.
Alex Miell-Ingram was first out of the pen having a deliberately fast start. Whilst struggling with the conditions toward the end of the race he had an excellent run maintaining his position as the first Oxfordshire athlete to cross the line in 99th position recording a time of 42m37s. Calum Steer, who travelled down from Durham University for the event, had a steady start However, he came through the field on the final two laps to finish second Oxfordshire athlete in 123rd place with an excellent time of 43m26s.
James Chettle also came through the field well having started steadily to finish in a very creditable 143rd position in a time of 43m53s. The two Witney runners, Tegid Jones and Sam Upton, both worked their way through the field well such that they were racing against each other towards the end. They crossed the line in 155th and 156th places respectively recording times of 44m12s and 44m13s. Despite Sam closing step by step along the hilly finish, Tegid managed to hang on to come out on top in the tussle.
James Bolton also came through the field really strongly on the final lap to finish in 186th place in a time of 45m18s. Having only been given a few hours’ notice that he would be running Shun Watanabe finished a highly creditable 230th place in a time of 46m46s. Shun must be given a special mention for his valiant effort in attending the event at such short notice.
Sam Marshall went off hard early on and found the going tough towards the end finishing in 247th position crossing the line in a time of 47m32s. Jack Shaylor also began the race really strongly and was very much in the mix for a team placing. However, Jack fell over unfortunately on the long lap and was unable to finish the race.
Overall, the Senior Men’s team finished 17th out of a total of 30 teams which is an excellent result.
Senior Men's Team Manager