Wycombe Phoenix

Race Report: Southern Inter Counties Cross Country Champs (2018) – Horspath, Oxford

Monday, December 10th, 2018

It was a blustery day in Oxford on Saturday for the Southern Inter County Cross Country Champs. This is the first race of the cross country season, where athletes are selected to compete for the county. The club had a total of 6 athletes selected to represent Bucks against other teams from across the whole of the south of England.

In the U15 girls race Olivia Brown and Megan Harris battled through some difficult conditions. Olivia continued his her great season, ending the race with her now traditional sprint finish, managing to pass a big group of competitors over the last 150m.

Myles Caddell worked his way through the pack of U17 men to emerge out of the woods at the end of the race 3rd out of the Bucks team and finishing 29th in the race, a great improvement on last year where he finished 7th in the Bucks team and 78th in the race. This is good measure of the progress he’s made over the last year.U17 Men Bucks Team

In the U17 women’s race Cerys Vico worked hard to secure 5th place in the team and managed a sprint finish at the end of the race to pass a couple of runners just before the finish line.

Jenny Roberts finished 26th in the senior women’s race (3rd in the Bucks team). Jenny continues to improve and is really benefiting from a more focussed training programme.

However, the pick of the day’s performances came from Jacob Sanderson in the U15 boys race. Jacob started the Cross Country season well, having had a successful track season and has continued to improve with every race. This time he finished first in the Bucks team and 26th in the race. He looked comfortable throughout and will hopefully take this form into the national races in the new year.

U15 Boys Bucks Team

Race Report: Chiltern League Match 3 (2018/19) – Stopsley Park, Luton

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

We woke up to rain and the vague hope that it would be better in Luton was dispelled on the drive up the M1. A big thank you to Duncan Griffin for his team management and putting up the Club tent, it would have been a miserable day without it.

The wet conditions however made the Stopsley course a bit more challenging and we actually did pretty well. We finished 5th on the day and maintain our position of 4th overall after 3 matches.

Our Senior Women continued their impressive form with another 1st place finish to extend our lead over Milton CL 3 SW 2018Keynes. Pippa Woolven made a late decision to run, and pulled away from a good field in the second half. Alex Cook continues her great winter with a 6th place place finish. And not far behind was Jenny Roberts, who keeps on getting better and better with a 9th place finish. It was great to see Nicki Johnson back in action after a summer on the OCR circuit. And with Jess Gray and Laura Street closing in the top 21 we were too strong for Milton Keynes.

Our Senior Men did brilliantly last year to finish 3rd. We’re struggling a little this year for various reasons. However, other clubs seem to be struggling more than us, and despite missing a few of our stronger runners, we finished 4th and actually moved up to 3rd overall. Performance of the day was by Joe Branch. CL 3 SM 2018Joe made his debut in the League 2 seasons ago. He struggled with calf problems in his first year but an 8th place finish was an excellent run, his best yet and every chance of even better in the future. Solid runs by the rest of the team and a big welcome to Paul Gilbert who was our 8th man home on his debut for the Club.

For the juniors earlier the weather was particularly unpleasant, the perfect storm of wind, rain and cold temperatures. But they braved the conditions and performed brilliantly as they have done all season.
For the U11s it was a bit of an introduction to real cross country running, but they threw everything into it despite the weather. In the girls race we had; Sienna Dove, Josephine Crockett, Emma Westbrook, Haleema Safdar and Sumayya Safdar, finishing in that order. In the boys U11s race, despite the conditions, we had another good turnout with the following athletes battling through to the finish; Cameron Harrington, William Foster, Edward Faulkner, Samuel Evans, Alfie Parker, Dylan Martin and Dylan Taylor.

The U13 girls are developing a good team spirit, which means they turnout regularly for races whatever the conditions. CL 3 U13 2018On Saturday the team finished in 6th place, in the following order; Libby Sutton, Lyla Griffin, Amy Hogbin, Emma Caddell and Ellie Faulkner. The U13 boys team was a bit short of numbers, but the ever reliable Casper Chillingworth and William Alexander placing 18th and 34th, closely followed by Jai and Ishi Burmi.

The U15 girls race was a fascinating game of cat-n-mouse with Megan Harris and Olivia Brown tracking each other throughout the race. And just behind were Ellen Cooper and Tilly Firth moving steadily through the pack. The final 300m was a sprint fest with Olivia just pipping Megan and Ellen to finish first for Wycombe and securing her selection for next weekend’s Inter Counties. The team finished 2nd, behind Chiltern, their highest position this year. There is chance of a medal if we can continue to field a strong team. CL 3 U15 2018The under 15 boys were down in numbers a little, but Jacob Sanderson continued his run of form, finishing a comfortable 4th overall. Alex Mitchell and Owen Westbrook finished 33rd and 38th respectively.

Our lone U17 woman was Cerys Vico. Cerys is gradually building her fitness as the winter progresses. She ran a tactically astute race, finishing with a sprint and doing enough to secure selection for next weekend’s Inter Counties. We had 2 athletes in the U17 men, Myles Caddell and Tom Crockett. Myles had already been pre-selected for the Inter Counties but still ran a strong race to finish 7th and was ably supported by Tom in 17th.

Race Report: Chiltern League Match 2 (2018/19) – Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes

Monday, November 12th, 2018

We started our campaign in the Chiltern League well at Oxford a month ago. Last year we struggled a bit at Teardrop Lakes, Milton Keynes in the 2nd match and it was a similar affair this year. However, we retain our 3rd place overall in the League.

This fixture also incorporates the UK cross challenge which brings some of the best runners in the country to the event. CL 2 2018 Snr W 2Pippa Woolven has had a difficult year but has been gradually increasing her training over the last couple of months. She prevailed against some good local competition in the first match and has run well in the relays but this was her first ‘real test’.  It took 3 former European cross country medallists to beat her. 4th place in the cross challenge and a 50sec plus victory in the League was a great run.

2 months ago, Zoe Doyle was racing 800m in World Masters Champs. Only 2 weeks ago Alex Cook was racing a 50km race. On Saturday, over 5.6km,  there was only 2secs between them; 6th and 7th were great runs. Jenny Roberts continued her steady progress with a 13th place finish. It won’t be long until she’s in the top 10.CL 2 2018 Snr W 1

Jess Gray and Laura Street completed the team in the top 22% of the race. However, we were, up against a very strong Milton Keynes team and they edged us by 1 point. We still maintain our overall lead. The next match will be crucial.

The senior men got off to a good start at Oxford, with a 3rd place finish. We knew we were a little weaker for this one and we ended up 6th on the day and are now 4th overall. There were a lot of positives though. CL 2 2018 Snr MThe return to form of Joe Branch was great to see. Down in the 40s at Oxford, a 17th place finish was a lot better. A top 10 surely beckons.

At 10.30am Sean Wilson was on family duty, however, by 1.30 he had arrived in Milton Keynes. His spike falling apart 10mins before the start did not deter him and he was our 4th man home. A special mention also to Tim Hogbin. It’s easy to talk about the guys at the front. Tim has run and scored in every Chiltern League match, Southern and National for the last two years. Despite his best efforts he was unable to run at Oxford, but dependable as ever, Tim was our 6th man home.

The Junior section of the club was affected by the English Schools Cross Country Cup falling on the same weekend. So we were missing some of our key athletes, but we also welcomed back some of our most experienced athletes who hadn’t been available for the first match, including; Ana Montgomery, Cerys Vico, Megan Harris, Maddie Wood, Olivia Brown and Tilly Firth. This meant we were able to put out full teams in both the U17/20 Women and U15 Girls races. The strong U15 girls team finished 3rd and were led home by Olivia Brown who had a great run. The U17/20 Women finished 4th and will hopefully get stronger as the season progresses. The U13 girls team had a good turnout, being led home by Libby Sutton for the second time in two matches.

We weren’t able to field full teams in the boys races, but we did have probably the best performance of the day from Myles Caddell in the U17 race.CL 2 2018 MC He had finished 7th at Oxford, but on Saturday he beat many of his rivals to finish a fantastic 3rd. This is a testament to consistency and hard work in training.

The U15 boys were short of numbers due to the Schools Cross Country Cup, but it was good to see Alex Mitchell returning to form with a solid run.

The U13 boys were also down in numbers, with only 2 runners, Casper Chillingworth and William Alexander, but despite this the team still managed to finish 9th out of 14 teams. Well done boys.

We had another good turnout in the U11s age group, with total of 14 athletes running. Chloe Fossel and Daniel Cogan were our first runners to finish and both improved on their runs at Oxford.

Athletes making their debut on Saturday were; Yasmin Drummond, Josephine Crockett, Bea Montgomery. Well done and we look forward to seeing you in Luton.

Photos by Barry Cornelius

Gold Medal Winning Success at the South of England Cross Country Relays

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Another unseasonably warm day and another successful outing for Wycombe Phoenix Harriers at the South of England Cross Country Relays.

Following our ladies brilliant medal in the South of England road relays, hopes were high for the 44422865_10161285415776337_1483328481080115200_ocross country equivalent at Wormwood Scrubs on Saturday. 3x3km meant for a short but exciting event. We decided to stay with Zoe Doyle on leg 1. Zoe’s had a great year and is running better than ever. She might not have felt 100% but she moved through the field to finish 3rd. A medal was definitely a possibility again. Next up was the incredibly versatile Alex Cook. Not many can mix ultra races and a 3km cross country but Alex is enjoying the Club competitions and held onto our 3rd position. Alex and Zoe had run great but we still found ourselves over 30secs off the lead.

Belgrave though had top loaded their team and were soon being hunted down by Pippa Woolven. 6mins into the final leg and we’d gone into the lead! Herne Hill were moving rapidly through the field but there was no way that their star Katie Snowden could catch ours and in the end we were comfortable winners. We think a first senior championship for the Club in its history. Such is strength of our ladies team at the moment, that we had hoped to field a 2nd team. Come Saturday we didn’t have a full team but Jenny Roberts and Beth Brown had very good runs nevertheless.


Despite the this year’s race coinciding with the start of half-term we also managed to enter a total of 6 junior teams. The day’s racing kicked off with the U17 women. We were delighted to have Siân Vico making a special guest appearance from the Sprints group and she showed her versatility by running the pressured first leg to hand over to Mia Waterhouse who ran a solid second leg to set up Cerys Vico who brought the team home in 21st place. We once again managed to get together two under 13 Girls teams and an U13 boys team, some of whom had run at the IMG_4123Road Relays and were now becoming accustomed to the excitement of this sort of racing. The teams were; U13G A (27th) – Amy Hogbin, Thea Gray, Emma Caddell. U13G B (34th) – Izzie Binnie, Iris Cooper, Ellie Faulkner. U13B (26th) – William Alexander, Jai Burmi, Ishi Burmi.

The U15 girls team was the same as the team from the Road Relays and they are proving to be a good combination. Maddie Wood led the team out in what was a packed start and used her experience to work through the melee. Ellen Cooper, who is improving each time she competes, ran a great second leg and Olivia Brown wrapped things up with a very determined final leg to finish 18th. The U15 boys went one better coming 17th. The Mitchell brothers (Nick and then Alex), who are both coming into a bit of form, covered the first and second legs and put the team into a good position to hand over to Rollo Parry, who made up a significant number of places, finishing strongly.

Some of the juniors stayed around to watch the senior women’s race, as there was talk of the possibility of medals beforehand. They weren’t left disappointed and hopefully will take away some inspiration from this gold medal winning success.

Race Report: Chiltern League Match 1 (2018/19) – Horspath, Oxford

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Well done to all those who competed at the first Chiltern League of the season. It was very very warm and certainly not typical cross country weather.

Last year saw our Senior Women’s team beginning to take shape. We did very well atIMG_4119 (1) certain times but didn’t quite have the numbers throughout the year to really do well in the League and we ended up 4th.

This year though we got off to a terrific start. Still buzzing from their medal in the Southern Road Relay Champs, our women were convincing winners. Pippa Woolven is steadily getting back to her best. She had some good competition over the 5.8km course but pulled away strongly in the second half for a clear win. Zoe Doyle, Alex Cook and Jenny Roberts followed in 5th, 8th and 14th. Brilliant runs by all of them again. A couple of years ago that would have been the team completed. The League rightly though increased the numbers of scorers to 6 which rewards a good club. We were up to the task!

Beth Brown and Laura Street have had difficult summers with injury. They were both eager though to race and brought us home for a great win. Not far behind, it was good to see Helen Alexander back racing again. She’ll no doubt score some vital points later in the season.











The senior men had a great season last year to take 3rd. We’ve had a couple of new recruits but we’ve also got a few injuries so we were a bit unsure how we would fare on Saturday.

David Clark led us home for the first time and celebrated his 21st Birthday with his best IMG_4114ever cross country performance with a brilliant 12th place. David is the perfect example to any younger athlete about perseverance. He didn’t set the world alight when he was younger! However, he has continued to train hard (70miles plus most weeks) and the result speaks for itself.

Joe Branch wasn’t at his best but still scored solid points. Our strength though was packing our next 5 scorers (Kieran Gilfedder, Chris Filer, Ben Sutherland, Frank Fulcher and Gareth Morris) in the top 100. Ben was our joker in the pack. Our quickest runner in the team at his best, hasn’t done much running of any sort for quite a while! Certainly, nothing of any quality. Nevertheless, he answered the call to arms and surprised himself with a 67th place IMG_4118 (1)finish overall. Who knows what he might do with a bit of training! Peter Finn, Andy Walling and our new man Dan Barker completed our team. And making his debut for the seniors was Scott Wixon Nelson.

3rd place was a good start to the season.




In the U17 and U15 age groups we were down in numbers compared to last year, but those who raced did themselves proud. Special mention goes to those making their Chiltern League debut’s today; Ellen Cooper (U15), Rebecca Rees-Davies (U15) and Emily Whelan (U17) all of whom performed beyond expectations.

We also had some top 10 performances (finishing in the top 10 in the CL is a significant achievement); Jacob Sanderson 4th in the U15 boys (he was 28th in the same race last year!), Myles Caddell 7th in the U17 men. And it was great to see Kirsten Stilwell making a welcome return to racing, finishing 2nd in the U17 women’s race.

The U13 and U11 age groups are thriving and we had a good turnout, with many of our athletes making their debut’s. So welcome to the Chiltern League to the d004b2aa-016c-4579-b9ed-ff86c86456c6following newcomers (apologies if any names are missing);

U13 – Girls
Mae Burton
Evie Burton
Lowri Cawdell
Iris Cooper

U13 – Boys
Jai Burmi
Tim Golding

U11 – Girls
Sienna Tanner
Chloe Fossel
Libby Walling
Emma Westbrook
Marie Bolton

U13 – Boys
Dylan Taylor
Dylan Martin

Senior Women Grab Bronze at the 2018 Southern Road Relays

Monday, October 1st, 2018

PW SRRSometimes all your stars align. Our ladies team has been developing over the last year. However, getting everyone available and running well on the day of a championship is never easy. Today we did!

Zoe Doyle got us off to a cracking start with an 8th place finish. The first leg of a relay is always loaded. We felt we had to get off to a good start and fresh from her medal winning performances in the World Masters, Zoe did just that.

Next up Pippa Woolven. We knew Pippa would move through the field but never expected what happened next. The quickest time of the day saw us in the lead!

Alex Cook had been prepped that she would be taking over at the sharp end but she wasn’t expecting to be right at the front! 4.8km later and we were still in 1st. Alex had a brilliant controlled run to keep us in an unprecedented position.

Jenny Roberts joined us last year and has improved massively. However, leading the regional relay champs was probably not what she anticipated when she signed up! Things can change quickly in a relay. Guernsey had moved through the field. Jenny, however, stuck to her task and held on for a brilliant and unprecedented 3rd.DoIZIBkU0AAS9p3

Junior Club Champs 2018 – Sunday 15th April – RESULTS

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Many thanks to everyone who competed, supported, officiated and volunteered at our event today. Despite the deteriorating weather towards the end of the day, we witnessed some great performances from Wycombe Phoenix athletes and from our guests – particularly from Chiltern Harriers and Cookham Runners who supported us again fantastically this year. It was great, also, to host the U15/U17 Buckinghamshire County 3000m Championships for the first time this year.

Here is a full set of results:

U13 / U15 Track Results

U13 / U15 Field Results

Year 3/4 Girls QuadKids

Year 3/4 Boys QuadKids

Year 5 Girls QuadKids

Year 5 Boys QuadKids


National Inter Counties Cross Country Champs 2018

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Mud, mud, glorious mud, nothing quite like it for making running and spectating extra difficult!

When veteran Athletics Weekly photographer Mark Shearman says the conditions at Saturday’s Inter Counties in Loughborough were the worst he has had to work in, you know it must be bad.

But most of the complaining came from the spectators and not the athletes from the club who had been selected to represent their county. After some frantic changing of spikes from 9mm to 12 and 15mm they were ready to get on with the job in hand.

First from the club to brave the mud was Rollo Parry in the U13 boys team. The county team at this age group is particularly strong and Rollo was our highest finisher of the day coming in 118th (309) and 7th in the Bucks team The team finished 4th, just missing out on a medal position. This shouldIC2018OB give Rollo confidence going into the English Schools XC final on the 17th March. Olivia Brown also U13, finished well in the girls race coming 141st (302), this is another strong age group and the team finished 5th overall.

Competing for the county for the first time, U15 Jacob Sanderson fully justified his selection by coming 5th in the Bucks team and 200th overall. This is a great results for Jacob who has been steadily improving over the season and is coming into form at the right time and hopefully will have a good final run at the English Schools final.




It was great to see that half of the U17 women’s team was made up with athletes from the club. Cerys Vico seems to be finishing her season in the same style in which she started it way back at the first Chiltern League in Oxford where she came 4th. Today she came 2nd out of the Bucks team and 119th overall (278), which should give her plenty of confidence going into the track season. Mia Waterhouse and Emma Styles have been the surprise packages this season, both of them competing for the county for the first time this year and both justifying their selections, finishing 5th and 6th out of the Bucks runners. Ana Montgomery was unfortunate to lose one of her spikes on the first bend and had to run the rest of the race (5K) with one shoe. But Ana being Ana carried on as though nothing had happened and finished the race strongly and came in 7th in the Bucks team.

In thIC2018U17We U17 mens race Myles Caddell had something to prove, he had narrowly missed out on selection for the English Schools final and was determined to make up for it with a strong run. He didn’t disappoint and finished 4th out of the Bucks team and 127th in the race. He looked comfortable throughout and made a decisive move towards the end, making up several places over the last quarter of a mile. Finn Bell got off to an excellent start but unfortunately had to retire from the race due to a stomach problem.

The U15 girls had to wait till late in the afternoon and after the course had been made worse by the previous races. Representing the club were Izzy Wijsman and Megan Harris. Izzy got off to a difficult start getting stuck in the starting melee, but she didn’t let this put her off and worked her way steadily through the field, although her finishing position isn’t currently showing in the results. Megan worked hard, giving it everything as ever and finished 239th.

This was one of the clubs best representations at the Inter Counties and hopefully we can build on this next year.

National Cross Country Champs 2018 – Parliament Hill

Monday, February 26th, 2018

This year ‘The Nationals’ returned to its spiritual home – Parliament Hill. This is the biggest race of the cross country calendar and the ingredients were there for a great days racing; the sun shone, not too much mud(!), everyone found a parking space, the trains were on time and to top it all the view from the tent was lovely. (more…)

Chiltern League Campbell Park (Match 5 – February 2018)

Monday, February 12th, 2018

The Chiltern League is over for another year and its been a tough one. Oxford started off warm and dry with no mud, but the weather and the mud has got steadily worse with each race. But this, after all, is cross country! Doing well in a cross country league is all about consistency over all the fixtures. We started the season well back in October. We struggled a little in the 2nd fixture at Teardrop Lakes but thereafter we have gone from strength to strength.

The SM went into the final match at Campbell Park in 3rd, with a 94 point buffer over 4th. We were determined we weren’t going to lose this and every runner from the Keysoe toed the start line again. In the end the result was never in doubt and we took CL 5 - SMbronze by nearly 300 points. Joe Branch again led the team home in 11th. He’d been pretty ill the previous week but there was never any chance of him missing this one. With half a mile to go, a few good club athletes thought they had the scalp of Olympian, James Mcilroy. 800m though is ‘his thing’ and he powered past 10 athletes to finish within 30 secs of Joe in 15th.  David Clark, Peter Finn, Frank Fulcher, Chris Filer, Andy Walling, Tim Hogbin, Sean Wilson all followed in the top 67. Kieran Gilfedder and Will Langley then fought out the 10th scoring spot and the job was done!

A special mention also to Ben Sendall who was our highest place finisher in any match with his brilliant 3rd place in the first match.

After 3 matches the SW were lying 7th. We knew though that if we could get a full 6 runners out that we would be a lot higher. A brilliant performance at Keysoe moved us into 5th. Could the women actually get a medal as well? On Tuesday it didn’t seem possible. We only had 2 confirmed runners and one of those was ill! However, come Saturday afternoon,  we had 6! Jenny Roberts even delayed her family half term break in order to be there.

Lucy Rogers ran her best race of the year to come 3rd and took herself into 3rd overall. Next home was European Masters champion, Zoe Doyle who was making her debut for CL 5 - SWthe Club. After months out recovering from a stress fracture, we would have been happy with a finish in the mid teens. Zoe though surprised everyone with a brilliant 5th place. Jenny and Nicki Johnson followed, both getting better with every race. Jess Gray and Fran Sille then completed our team. With 6 in 29, we couldn’t have done much more on the day. In the end though it wasn’t enough and we finished in 4th overall. An incomplete team in the 2nd and 3rd fixtures cost us. Congratulations though to Dacorum who were more consistent throughout the season.

With it being half term we struggled a little for numbers in the junior age groups. However, there seems to be a growing crop of keen U11s who have made an appearance through the season. Well done to the following athletes who have competed in at least 4 races; Libby Sutton, Ellie Faulkner, Casper Chillingworth (who finished 9th in the League), William Alexander, Charlie Kassar, Rufus Parry and William Foster.

The U13s have performed well, in the U13 boys Rollo Parry has been blazing a trail and at the end of the final match finished 8th. The U13 girls have been led by the dynamic duo of Olivia Brown and Tilly Firth. The girls finishing 10th and 14th respectively.

In the U15 age groups where we have typically been stronger in previous years; this year we have struggled due to reduced numbers. Hopefully, next year we will have more runners in this age group as some of the talented U13s move up. But of the U15s who did race, all performed brilliantly. On Saturday Megan Harris showed great determination coming 4th in Division 1 which is an excellent result and our best junior performance of the day in a difficult age group. Although not available for the final match, Izzy Wijsman is worth a mention. She has had a great season – focussed and consistent throughout – finishing 10th overall. She’ll be a great asset to the U17s when she moves up next year. In the U15 boys Jacob Sanderson improved greatly over the course of the 5 races and had a solid run in the final match to finish 14th on the day and an excellent 9th overall in the League.

In the U17s category, where we have previously struggled for numbers, we have been strong and held our own in Division 1. Coming into the final match, the U17 boys were in 3rd place and needed a good turnout to secure bronze. On the day, Myles Caddell led the boys home followed by a steadily improving Tom Crockett, Hal Burtenshaw and Marcus Waterhouse. All 4 boys scored to guarantee a team bronze.

We also fielded a full team in the U17 girls. Cerys Vico led the team home, followed by Mia Waterhouse (with a strong sprint finish) and the ever reliable Ana Montgomery. After the race the team was awarded bronze, although there is still some confusion over this result and we are awaiting clarification from the League.

For the juniors to remain competitive next season, we will need to increase numbers across the age groups, in order to reduce our reliance on the same small number of athletes turning out for each race.