SXCL Queen Elizabeth Country Park

A glorious autumn day brought out a record number of 430 runners for the second of six Southern Cross Country League races, hosted by Portsmouth Joggers on a hilly course at Queen Elizabeth Country Park. Twenty-eight of them were Farnham Runners, keen to add to their success in the league in recent years (previously called the Today’s Runner Winter League).

They gained an overall (combined men and ladies) 3rd place of the 21 clubs. The men were 2nd and the ladies 5th. Seven of the men were on their debut cross-country in club colours, which bodes well for the future. Neck and neck most of the way were Andrew Ellison (14th) and Ian Carley (15th). Richard Lovejoy experienced his first league race for an excellent 20th with another debutant James Clarke not far back in 28th. Charlie Hill-Venning, recovered from his recent 3-28-36 Snowdonia marathon was the final scorer in 32nd.

Just out of the team was his brother, John Hill-Venning (37th), whose 3-31-40 in the Snowdonia marathon was a new personal best by two minutes despite the hilly course. Newcomer Matt Brown (40th) though feeling under par, sprinted for the line ahead of Charles Ashby (42nd) who had done a very long training run the day before. Matt Dellar (62nd), Steve Kitney (73rd), Tim Cummins (80th) and Ian Marshall (85th) on his debut all placed in the top 100. They were followed by Terry Copeland (107th) Chris Cramp (116th), Neil Ambrose (126th, debut) John Philips (161st, debut), Tim Farrant (167th, debut), Craig Tate-Grimes (187th) and Chris Beattie (210th).

For the ladies Jane Georghiou managed to overtake her younger team mates for 21st. Close behind Charlotte Hanson in 23rd kept ahead of Kayleigh Copeland in 25th, both enthusiastic and improving with every race.

Reliable team player for the last 14 years Lindsay Bamford maintained a strong performance in 30th. Sue Taylor (54th) kept ahead of Tori Shaw (67th) while Kay Copeland (78th) led in a trio with Lina Haines (92nd) and Elaine Ashby (142nd).