This is the week that… We Took Over the Beds AAA XC

mens team

This is the week that... We Took Over The Beds AAA XC

Following last year’s postponement due to Covid, the Beds AAA joined forces with Bucks AAA to hold the County Cross Country Championships at Campbell Park in Milton Keynes on Saturday. The rainy weather forecast was spot on for a change and that made for ideal cross country conditions. With some gentle encouragement pre Christmas, LFR fielded a magnificent 32 runners across the various age groups, which was a great turnout.

The event started mid morning with the junior categories testing the conditions and making the route a little more interesting for us to follow later in the day. While we don’t have a junior section ourselves, it was great to see the children of our members doing so well. Charlotte and Elizabeth Stocks came 2nd and 3rd in their age group, Arianna Green and Bella Laird were 4th and 6th in the Girls under 13’s. For the boys, James Parker came 2nd in his age group and Rhys Booth came 4th! Well done to all those youngsters who took part.

After the children it was the turn of the adults and at 1.00pm the men lined up to take on the undulating grassland course, which was best described as “Squelchy” under foot. Spikes were definitely the best option, although a pair of wellies would have been just as appropriate!

As the gun went off Matthew Ma set the early LFR pace, tackling a steep uphill start, which  set the tone for the race. Our mens over 60’s duo of Mike Clark and Mark Viccars were first to finish as they completed two laps of the course. Mike finished in 3rd place with Mark not far behind in 5th, well done both. The rest of the men completed a third lap with Matthew Ma being the first LFR home in 14th place and not far behind was Ian Bisby in 19th place, followed by Dan Green in 25th. Dan was also 2nd in the V45 age group. Well done Dan!  In all we had 16 men compete on the day which enabled us to qualify for two teams in the team event, where we placed 3rd and 4th behind LBAC in the Senior / Veterans category and in the Vets Category we came a brilliant 2nd and 3rd. A shout out to Andy Griggs who had earlier completed a parkrun in Maidenhead in the morning and still made the cross country. Without Andy the mens Vets team would not have achieved the 3rd place finish.

As we approached 2.00pm the ladies prepared for action and once again the heavens opened, the rain returned and it was horrible! The ladies set off on a slightly different route to the men, who were on supporting duties,  shouting words of encouragement as the ladies had done an hour earlier. We certainly embody team spirit at LFR, as I didn’t see any other clubs support their runners as we did!

In all 10 ladies made the start line on Saturday and they all did brilliantly. Rosie Booth was the first LFR lady home in 11th place and an impressive 3rd in Age Group. Elle Laird was the 2nd LFR home and came 2nd in her Age Group, with Sam Heady coming 3rd LFR lady and 3rd in her Age Group. Well done all! At the finish line with the supporting crew ever growing, Michelle Evans-Riches put in a finishing kick, which will live long in the memory!  Coming around the last bend, Michelle was a good 20m behind the runner in front of her and with shouts of encouragement from a whole entourage of LFR’s she really dug in and won the sprint to the line. A great way to win your age group Michelle and join Christine Ayres and Celia Walker and help the LFR team win the team event. It was the first time LFR have won the team event in any category in 21 years of the Beds AAA Cross Country.

A thoroughly enjoyable event despite the weather and great results from every single LFR!