What a result…Farnham Runners finish in top three of the Southern Cross-Country League

The Southern Cross-Country League final results and races at Alice Holt and Fareham

Farnham Runners were delighted to find that they placed third out of the 23 clubs in the Southern Cross-Country League in the final tally after the sixth and final race. They knew it was close going into the last race.

After the fifth round they stood in fourth place after the men’s team came seventh and the ladies gained a splendid top place to give a combined total of second.

SXCL Alice Holt Forest

Farnham Runners group before the cross country at the 2023 SXCL Alice Holt Forest race

Farnham Runners’ race director, Craig Tate-Grimes organised this fifth event in Alice Holt Forest. He had the huge task of co-ordinating volunteers from the 23 clubs as it is a joint venture, Farnham Runners having already organised the second race in the Bourne Woods. Forestry England kindly agreed to it taking place in the forest and Basingstoke and Mid Hants AC took on the task of sorting the results.

Craig pointed out before the start that the course was the same as last year, but with much less mud after a spell of dry weather. Some sections were on gravel but much was on narrower woodland tracks with tree roots to negotiate. Very little could be described as flat and the route favoured strong cross-country runners. It was chilly but the sun was out so many stayed for cake and a hot drink afterwards.

James Clarke racing to third place at the 2023 SXCL Alice Holt Forest race

James Clarke had a fantastic run to come home third. Neil Ambrose 38th, Sam Angell 47th and Harvey Wickham 55th were the other scorers, with Colin Addison 63rd and Matthew Wernham 84th not far back.

The ladies had three among the top twenty finishers: Louise Granell 10th, Emma Pearson 14th and Phoebe Thomas 15th, in her first race for Farnham and first cross country. Emma Patton, 32nd completed the team, followed by Sue Taylor 48th, Bella Weetch 53rd.

Other results

Men: 101 Mike Carter, 107 Ivan Chunnett, 116 Tim Farrant, 130 Terry Copeland, 138 Justin Clarke, 162 Chris Gill, 172 Terry Steadman, 178 Andy Brown. 189 Howard Inns, 192 Phil Masters.

Ladies: 68 Bridget Naylor, 74 Jane Georghiou, 83, Abby Fawcett in her first race in Farnham colours, 84 Tori Shaw, 91 Kay Copeland 93 Vicky Goodluck, 94 Amanda Muir, 95 Georgina Anderson, 101 Sally Lawrence, 111 Colette Grist, 113 Jane Allen, 129 Sarah Britnell, 132 Cath Wernham, 136 Alison lamb, 149 Jackie Wilkinson, 157 Jacquie Browne , 161 Nicola O’Connor, 162 Rachel Morris, 163 Kate Townsend, 164 Linda Tyler (tail runners).

See the Photo Gallery 2023 for more photos from the above race

SXCL Holywell Estate

Farnham Runners group before the 2023 SXCL Holywell Estate cross-country race near Fareham

The final event was equally expertly organised by Fareham Running Club at a new venue, the Holywell Estate near Swanmore in the Meon Valley. As advertised the five mile route included “open fields, technical wooded paths and incredible vistas”. It was cold again but the sun eventually came out giving the slower runners the best views. Farnham Runners seemed to get more than their fair share of cheers from the marshals, probably as their vests are unmistakable!

The men were able to field an excellent team that came fourth and only one point off being joint second. They were led in by Joe Collins 5th and Biff Weston 10th, with Chris Matthews not far back 18th. This time Neil Ambrose, 45th, had to settle for the final scoring place. Others in the top 100 were Sam Angell 53rd and Colin Addison 68th.

A number of the ladies were not able to compete this time due to other commitments, but the team still came 8th. Louise Granell, after injury worries finished a splendid 5th, having been 3rd until the final sprint to the line. Next came reliable team member Sue Taylor in 36th. Laura Quinn 56th and Jane Georghiou 60th were pleased to clinch team places just ahead of Jane Barry 69th, Vicky Goodluck 70th and Tori Shaw 71st.

Other results

Men: 119 Mike Carter, 134 Terry Copeland, 150 Chris Gill, 162 Craig Tate-Grimes.

Ladies: 77 Amanda Muir, 82 Lizzie Collins, 94 Alison Lamb, 111 Tina Longman, 118 Jackie Wilkinson.