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Competition Report

Bucks Beds and Oxon XC Prospect Park Reading (17 Nov 2019)

What washing powder do you use to get last week’s mud out of your Wycombe Phoenix vest? Not the discussion I was expecting to have on the start line of the Senior Men’s race of the BBO in Prospect Park, Reading on Sunday. Our men’s team are certainly re-defining the concept of the 21st century man!

The blue skies were a refreshing change from the rain, mud and cold of the previous weekend’s Chiltern League race and the overall mood was more upbeat as a result. WPH fielded a strong team this year and hopes were high as the team warmed up – it was great to see Joe back from illness bringing his usual enthusiasm and energy to proceedings.

The Ladies fielded a reduced team due with only Mel (P) and Laura racing but with Laura finishing 6th overall and 2nd Master this boded well for the men. The lumpy 2 lap course was really challenging, with the steepness of the up’s and the down’s causing problems for everyone and the boggy wet ground sapped all momentum and strength from tired legs.

Newbury, Reading AC and Reading Road Runners all fielded really strong teams with the overall win going to Alex Muir of Newbury in 32.21. Dave Clark led the Phoenix home in 11th place with 33.54 closely followed by Kieran Gilfedder in 17th place in 34.19. Liam Busby continued his fantastic form to place 19th in 34.49 with Rob Wright finishing 23rd in 35.04 and Joe Branch 27th in 35.25 proving he’s still on form. Then came the turn of those with more “life experience” (old men) with Andy Walling 33rd in 35.50 and Paul Gilbert 36th in 36.04, Andy’s secret training continuing to pay off as his bout of good form continues through the Cross-Country season. Finally, Olly Kidd and Dean Childs came in 49th and 50th in 37.44 and 37.50 respectively.

Overall we were disappointed to finish 4th overall having fielded the strongest team for several years and only 7 points behind Reading Road Runners. But still, a great day of XC running in fabulous conditions.

By Paul Gilbert

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