OW Cross Country 2019-20
In September 2019, we entered the Welling10k (run at College in aid of the Jimmy Higham Fund) for the first time and raised a team of seven. This wasn’t a competitive event for us but was a great opportunity to fly the OWXC flag, whilst enjoying running in the lovely scenery and socialising over coffee in the V&A afterwards.
The big challenge for OWXC is the Annual Alumni Race, run over an 8k course on Wimbledon Common in December amongst the alumni of othaer schools. For the 2019 race, our biggest team to date (18 runners) was also our most successful to date.
In the Open Competition (first four to score) we came 8th out of the 24 schools competing, comfortably beating our previous best of 16th place back in the 2016 race. So, a huge well done to our front four of Barnaby Walker, who finished 18th, Simon Martin (35th), Ross Maclagan (74th) and Will Campbell-Barnard (78th). Just as impressive was our ladies team, coming 4th out of 11 schools and particularly to Lauren Woods for finishing first in her W35 age group. Well done also to Natalie Blagg and Polly Amos for their supporting scores. Really though, this is a team event and it was a terrific team performance. Everyone played their part in the general fun and bonhomie and the support for those of us at the back of the field was generous and welcome.
Then, of course, came the wretched virus. Whilst most sports have taken an absolute battering during the Covid lockdown (which is just beginning to ease, as I write), running has positively gained from the need for everyone to exercise – with governmental encouragement. The good news, as word has spread about OWXC, is that our membership has now almost reached 50…and is still growing. While on the one hand lockdown has put a stop to any real events and postponement of others (London Marathon etc), it has also created the opportunity for a much larger number of virtual events. So long as you can time yourself over a measured distance, you’re a competitor – simple!
The organisers of Annual Alumni Race grabbed the opportunity to make it a weekly virtual event during lockdown (Lockdown Alumni Race or LAR) – furthermore encouraging members’ families and students at school to take part as well. The LAR is run over any 5K course chosen by each runner, so OWXC members have been posting times from Sydney, Singapore, Copenhagen, Edinburgh and Manchester. There have also been some outstanding results from students still at College, which gives us great hopes for the coming years, and we owe grateful thanks to Delyth Lynch (Head of Cross Country at Wellington) for all her help and encouragement with this.
The results of this weekly LAR have been terrific. There are three categories: 1) Top four, 2) Top ten and 3) Most entrants; OWXC has regularly been 1st in each category and always in the first three. We now have a really strong squad of good runners, as well as those who aren’t quite so quick but just happy to be part of the pack! So, if the real Alumni Race takes place this year (Wimbledon Common, Saturday 12 December 2020), our prospects are bright for a trophy or two.
The annual Parkland Relays in Richmond Park were originally scheduled for mid-June but these, too, had to be run virtually, also over a 5k course. This is a long standing event amongst many of the top London clubs and, out of the 25 complete teams, our men’s teams came:
OWXC A – 8th (Ed Dymoke, Peter Davy, Matthew Blagg, Will Campbell-Barnard)
OWXC B – 17th (Alex Bols, Charlie King, Richard Jelf, Dougal Monk)
OWXC C – 20th (Ross Maclagan, Toby Blythen, Mark Merritt, Andy McKimmie)
OWXC D – 25th (Tom Williamson, Simon Cox, Gary Lloyd, Jonathan Staley).
Unfortunately, due to injuries, our women couldn’t muster the three runners needed to form a team.
OW Cross Country is in a very healthy state and it’s important to build on what we now have, although the club urgently needs more female members. Absolutely any OW is encouraged to join and there must be many OW ladies who run. Running has become a way of life now and, once the lockdown restrictions are finally lifted, it is a wonderful way to meet up and make or renew friendships. To join, go to our website www.owxc.co.uk and pay the £25 one-off lifetime sub; for any further information, please contact Gary Lloyd (email@example.com). After joining, you will receive your club vest and join the OWXC Members WhatsApp.
Also worth noting: two outstanding achievements by OWXC members in the period have been Nick Cowley’s 6 marathons in 5 days round the coastline of Devon and Cornwall, and Adam Badrawy’s 31 half marathons in 31 days around the streets and parks of London – both of them raising funds for charity. Other OWXC members have run marathons, half marathons, ultras and all the usual iron man events, as well as the ever popular parkrun.