SXCL Queen Elizabeth Country Park

The Southern Cross Country League (previously called the Today’s Runner Winter League) is going from strength to strength with almost 550 turning out for the second race of the series on a glorious sunny day at Queen Elizabeth Country Park. This year hosts Portsmouth Joggers included even more hills than usual, and warned that recent rain had turned the event into a bit of a mud-fest. It wasn’t deep but of the slippery variety so trail shoes were recommended.

Twenty seven Farnham Runners enjoyed the race, though a few of the key players were not able to make it so the team results were not as good as usual: the men were 10th, the ladies 10th and the overall place joint 10th of 22 clubs.

Just two weeks after their strong performance in the Snowdonia marathon the Hill- Vennning brothers led in the men’s team, Charlie in 25th and John in 40th. Newcomer Stuart Haig came 68th in his second taste of cross country racing. Colin Addison (72nd) and Tim Cummins (73rd) were pleased to make up the scoring places. Not far back were Philip King (80th), Matt Dellar (92nd), Neil Ambrose (96th) and Ian Marshall (101). Further back-up was from John Phillips (131) Terry Copeland (157), Steve Kitney (187), Chris Beattie (211), Steve Bailey (227) Peter Chapman (240), Craig Tate-Grimes (252) and Ian Carley (255).

Junior runner Eloise Stradling (32nd) is getting stronger with every race and paced well to leave enough in the tank for a storming downhill finish. She overtook three ladies including veteran Jane Georghiou (35th) to lead in the Farnham ladies for the first time.

Emma Pearson, who has rejoined the club recently, went steadily in her debut at cross country to complete the scoring in 53rd, just edging out Lindsay Bamford in 54th. New member junior Alice Tranter shows huge potential and ran without the benefit of trail shoes for 64th. Further support came from Sue Taylor (102), Tori Shaw (122), Catrin Petty (158), Cyra Parkes 161, and Clair Bailey 171 on her debut.