The Cardiff Met men’s and women’s teams ran a strong BUCS cross country race on a tough Brighton course.
31st January 2015 is the most anticipated date in any University Cross Country runner’s diary – the prestigious BUCS XC championships. This year it was hosted by the University of Sussex, the course was one of the most challenging that you will find with plenty of hills and mud a real test of cross country running. The atmosphere at these championships is renowned for being very loud with spectators swarming on the course similar to that in the Tour De France. The men’s A team had an outside shot of regaining their bronze medals which they won at last year’s event, the first team medal that Cardiff Met have one at these championships. The women’s team were hoping to carry on from where they left off with some impressive performances in the Gwent Leagues as well as in the Welsh University Championships.
The men’s A race was the first race of the day. The A race at BUCS XC is 12km in distance and consists of six runners from each university going head to head with the main aim for your university team to finish as high as possible. With the standard being so high every place counts when it comes to the team competition. Jon Hopkins was the stand out performer for Cardiff Met on the day with a very impressive 12th place finish after spending most of the race in the top 5 but dropping back due to the relentless hills. Cross Country captain Matt Edwards finished in an encouraging 38th position after his 63rd place in last year’s championship. Josh Griffiths who was one of the stars at last year’s BUCS XC with his 16th place finish helping the team to the bronze medal struggled towards the end of the race after spending a large amount in the top 20 ending up in 47th. The triathlon specialist Sam Wade who was another who excelled at last year’s championship with his excellent 19th place finish found the course tough but still managed to produce a very positive display to finish in 56th position. Masters student Nick Wood carried on his great form from the Gwent leagues to finish in 83rd position. Fresher Dan Chesworth who is leading the university charge at this year’s Gwent leagues finished in 150th position. The team managed a promising 6th place with fine margins separating all the teams.
The next race of the day saw the women set off on the 6km course with the mud getting worse due to the previous race. The stand out female performer of the day was Tanja Griessbaum who was making her first BUCS appearance and managed a very impressive 43rd position in a very high-quality race. Next home for the girls team was the steeplechase specialist Emily Brown who managed 88th position. Third-year student Zoe Thomas another triathlete managed an encouraging 121st position. Emily Monk was 135th backing up her consistent performances in the Gwent league this season. Jess Harvey finished 169th in her first outing on the country this season. Track specialist Sofie Kent Ryan managed 209th which was also her first cross country of the season. Zoe Barrett, Kari O’Neil, Natalie Taylor, Rosie Finnegan, Jasmine Bowyer and Amy Reakes all had encouraging runs that they will hope to build on in future BUCS XC championships.
The last race of the day was the men’s B race who had to battle the cut up 8km course. Aaron Phelps who has recently recovered from injury had an impressive performance and was the first Cardiff met student home in 28th position. The next Cardiff Met student and leading the battle of the fresher’s was 800m specialist Matt Seddon who was battling with Phelps before falling on the last lap but still managed to finish in 42nd position. Another Fresher and also a track specialist Niall Holt was 50th position just 7 seconds behind Seddon. Deri Stewart who is a triathlete by trade tried to go with the early pace set by the leaders but struggled on the hilly course and came home in 67th position. George Harris backed up his performance at last year’s BUCS XC finishing in 68th position. Fresher Oli Lum managed a promising 140th position that he will hope to build on in future years. Ieuan Cooke, Aaron Prichard, Matthew O’Leary, Jacob Zennadi, Rich Crane and Sam Groom all anchored the B team home.
Full results can be found here.