Last Saturday marked the return of the cross country season for the University, with a good group of runners taking part in the West Yorkshire League.
The race took place in Wetherby over a tough undulating course that was 7km for the women and 9km for the men.
In the women’s race was made up of a small but strong field of 126 participants took part in what would be the University’s most successful West Yorkshire League outing with race captain Lucy Crookes leading by example, finishing a remarkable 5th overall.
To the fore of the field from the offset with Colleen Wilson (11th) and Bronwyn Hodgins (17th), Crookes forged ahead over the testing 7 km course. Other students in the field Catherine Whitfield (55th), Anne Marie-Moore (79th) and Hannah Lechert (93rd).
In the men’s race a much larger field of over 300 participants took part. The race was won by ex-University student and GB international fell runner, James Walsh who won his umpteenth west Yorkshire title with consummate ease. The 26-year- old athlete followed up some fine performances in a recent Lake District training camp over the summer and remarked after the race it had been “Toooo Easy”.
Up for the students were Beau Smith, Tom Powell, Finn Affleck-Brodie, Seb Goodall and Jack Wood. This was predicted to be a very close race between the students and Powell and Wood has placed a bet about who would come victorious between the two.
Wood set off the fastest for the Uni in around twentieth spot with Powell on his shoulder. Just behind was Beau Smith who powered ahead of Wood and Powell on a hilly section. About 40 seconds down were Finn and Seb who were running together.
Beau ended up coming a great 22nd in a strong field. Powell stayed ahead of Wood for most of the race only to finish the race over the last few hundred metres incredibly weakly in which the U-7 girls probably finished faster.
Wood finished 32nd and Powell 37th. Seb Goodall ran a sensible race and finished about 15 seconds behind Powell in 40th. Finn, ever the optimist, came 67th, describing the race as an “absolute shambles. That is all”.
In a post-race interview Crookes said “A fantastic day for the Uni, especially the girls. I’d like to thank my second best friend who made the effort to come down and support me today. He provided the encouragement needed to get me through the last 1k”.
Author: Tom Powell