Schools’ Cross Country League Race 5

Report: John Wharf -

Report of 5th Event – 9 January 2016

The 5th event was run on a redesigned course, made necessary by the very bad conditions underfoot. The persistent rain in the last month had turned the relatively low lying area outside the stadium into a bog, which necessitated us shifting the start onto firmer ground in the centre of the park and creating a looped course based broadly on the boundaries of the two former cricket pitches. This loop was run twice by children in Years 3-4 and three times by Years 4-5. Both year-groups finished the race on a spur running alongside the stadium approach road.

The conditions were hard, as I discovered when I acted as hare on my cyclo-cross bicycle for the first loop in each race. This was in lieu of our usual hare who was participating in the GM XC Championships. To my chagrin, I was caught just before the end of the loop in both years 5-6 races as my speed dropped dramatically in the gloop approaching the end of the lap – a first-time experience, whether riding my bike as an occasional hare in recent years as or as the regular running hare 15 and more years ago. My hat goes off to all the competing for running the races so well and sticking to the task.

I hope that we can race on the usual course on 6 February, but if we can’t, I shall make some modifications to the course to reduce the risk of having lapped runners and to ensure no off-course excursions in the transition from the loop to the finishing spur. There were a few glitches in the finishing positions, which I think have been sorted out, but please contact me if there are any remaining issues. The most significant problem occurred when Libby Porter of Stockport Grammar was completing her 3rd lap in G5-6 race and got stuck behind lapped runners who were about to start their 2nd lap. The marshal mistook her for a lapped runner and guided her onto the circuit again. At the time, Libby was lying in 6th position – a position that would have placed her 7th in the League. We have therefore given Libby a finishing position of 6th. This does not affect any other runner’s position.

As well as having a revised course the race lengths were slightly shorter for Years 5-6, so the finishing times are affected by this as well as the hard physical conditions on race day. The Years 3-4 course was of a similar length to normal.

Girls Years 3-4:

Freya Murdoch of Pownall added to her impressive series of wins, winning in a time of 6:54, 24s ahead of Saffron Meade of Great Moor in 2nd place. Third was Emily Whitworth of Lady Barn House in a time of 7:30 just ahead of a clutch of closely spaced runners: Eleanor Boyd of Dean Valley , 4th, Lucy Ewing of Gee Cross, 5th and Rosie Philbin of St Mary’s Marple, 6th.

With the League title firmly in Freya’s hands, attention has turned to the other podium positions and other League rankings. Our congratulations go to Saffron whose 2nd place secured her the silver medal in the League. Emily took securer grip on 3rd place in the League, but Rosie Philbin could still get onto the podium with a first or second place in the last race.

In the team competition, St Mary’s Marple won the race and now hold onto the lead with 122 points. Although Lady Barn House came 3rd in the race, they were able to discard their worst scoring race and narrow the gap on St Mary’s from 25 points to 5 points. Ladybrook, who came second in the race, are now secure in third place, but will need a fantastic team performance in the last race to rise higher.

Boys Years 3-4:

First place was taken by Luke Carrington of Gee Cross in a time of 6:34. He had a closely fought race with Dylan McGrath of St Ambrose who finished 3 seconds adrift. Harry Ahearn of St Cristopher’s Romiley came 3rd in a time of 6:48. Luke and Harry now head the League table with 7 points apiece and Finley McLaughlin lies in third place on 11 points after coming 4th in the race. Finley’s points score now guarantees him the bronze medal in the League, but Luke and Harry must await the final race to see what colour their medals will be. Our congratulations go to all three for their performances. Dylan McGrath unfortunately joined the League when half the races had been completed. His two second places so far indicate that he would have given some extra spice to the competition had he been able to do the required minimum of 4 races.

High Lane took 2nd place in the race, which improves their League score and keeps them at the top of the League table with 160 points. Gee Cross who gained their 4th counting race came third in the race and so moved into 2nd place in the table with 201 points. Lady Barn House won the race and moved into third position. Romiley and St Paul’s both dropped 2 positions to 4th and 5th respectively after being unable to improve their race scores. We have to await the final race to determine the final positions of the teams.

Girls Years 5-6:

Isabelle Burke of St Ann’s clinched her 5th consecutive win in a time of 09:18. Second place was taken by Jasmine Reed of Rose Hill Primary in a time of 9:32 and Taylor Edwards of Bowdon Church came third in a time of 9:37. Our congratulations go to Jasmine whose 2nd place points total in the League cannot be bettered by the runners lying below her. Elizabeth Hill of High Lane gained her 5th consecutive 4th place and retains her third place on 16 points. Only one runner has the possibility of equalling or bettering Elizabeth’s score: Sofia Livesey of St Simon’s, who finished 5th in the race and lies 4th in the table. Sofia needs to finish at least third and ahead of Elizabeth to do so. Taylor Edwards is unfortunately unable to do 4 races and must content herself with aiming for another high race position in the final race.

In the team competition, Stockport Grammar took first place and took over the top position in the League table from High Lane, who now lie second in the table on 128 points, 17 points off the top. Romiley had another solid race, equalling High Lane’s score and holding onto their now unassailable 3rd place with 164 points. As both teams would need an exceptional score in the last race and no improvement by the team above them to gain one place, the podium places appear to be already determined.

Boys Years 5-6:

Bow Hornby of Norbury Hall gained his first win of the season in a time of 9:34 and preventing 2nd placed Cathal O’Grady Smith of St Christopher’s from taking his 5th consecutive win. Finley Mayoh of Nevile Road finished third in a time of 9:50, five seconds ahead of William Parker of Lark Hill.

Finley retained his second place in the League, behind Cathal who won the League title after the first 4 races. Bow’s win came in his 4th counting race, which propelled him up the table to 3rd place, displacing Harvey Murphy of Romiley Primary. Harvey has an outside chance of matching Bow’s 15 points and getting onto the podium, but it will require him to win and for Bow not to improve his score. Jonah Wall of Great Moor, who has done only 3 races, could also get onto the podium, providing he competes in the final race and gets at least a top 6 position.

Romiley Primary came first in the race and closed the gap on the current League leaders, St Christopher’s Romiley. Both have a good lead on St Mary’s Marple and can therefore concentrate on each other in the final race to see who wins the league title. Nevile Road is the only team that can challenge St Mary’s 3rd position.

Next Event

The next event takes place on Saturday 5 February 2016.

I would like to thank and congratulate to all the children who took part in the league races and express my appreciation to their managers, family and friends for supporting them, St John Ambulance for tending to those needing medical attention and members and supporters of Stockport Harriers who helped put on a successful event. I hope to see you again at the next event.

​​​We might yet be able to have the presentation event at the stadium on 5 March 2016, but will advise you of the location before the next race

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