SXCL Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Overnight rain gave cross-country enthusiasts a particularly energy-sapping course at the second round of the Southern Cross-Country League, organised by Portsmouth Joggers at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

Slippery mud over most of the woodland route was broken by only short sections of firm ground, little of it flat. After the usual treacherous compacted section of chalk near the start, the hills began in earnest and concentration on the terrain ahead made full appreciation of the scenery difficult. The sun shone but there was a chilly wind.

A minutes silence was observed for remembrance Sunday before the race began.

An impressive turn-out of thirty-nine Farnham Runners enjoyed the camaraderie of this League, some for the first time. They were rewarded with a combined overall sixth place, with the men seventh and the ladies fifth. This places them joint third after two matches, out of 24 clubs.

Andrew Ellison sensibly chose spikes to cope with the mud and cornered well for his best result in five years, his 8th placing a boost for the team. The reliable James Clarke wasn’t far behind, to pick up tag 11. New member Tom Page took 56th slot, with Stuart Haig 66th and Colin Addison 69th, both pleased to score in the team of five. Charlie Hill-Venning 71st and Neil Ambrose 80th gained creditable top 100 places.

Kayleigh Copeland came out on top for the Farnham ladies, in 13th, just ahead of Eloise Stradling in 15th. Emma Pearson had to settle for 36th as final scorer for the team. An in-form Linda Tyler followed in 40th, heading a strong back up trio with Vicki Clarke 43rd and Lindsay Bamford 44th.

All gave their best on the challenging course, those following these leaders tackling the conditions for a longer time but still finishing with a smile.

Men: John Hill-Venning 105, Terry Copeland 138, James Bracey 141, Michael Stephens 150, Chris Cramp 193, Paul Mackie 198, Tim Cummins 207, Barney Whiter 208, Craig Tate-Grimes 240, Damien Probett 274.

Ladies: Jane Georghiou 60, Tara Hunt 63, Sue Taylor 64, Lina Haines 70, Kay Copeland 99, Emma Campbell 123, Rebecca Martin 132, Helen Bracey 140, Gulfer Budden 159, Clair Bailey 161, Nicola O’Connor 204, Jacquie Browne 221, Jackie Wilkinson 222, Tracey Holmes 224, Chris Chapman 234, Susan McKenzie 236.