Farley Mount was the venue for the first cross-country event of the season for Andover Athletic Club. An undulating and wet course awaited all the nervous athletes itching to get their first race under way.
The start of each race is always fast due to a bottle neck being only 100 metres away from the gun and then it is straight into the longest climb of the course, the older athletes completing many circuits over are always pleased when they reach the summit for the last time.
The youngsters always compete first and the Under 13 girls fielding a full team were spearheaded by Sarah Brett in 19th place who battled with stitch part way round so was pleased with her finish, next came newcomer Alicia Matthews in 66th and Hannah Craggs in 83rd.
The Under 13s boys fielded Myles Rolfe who showed his strength with a blistering start and hung on for 37th and a delighted Taylor Anstie who is only just 11 years old beating many older athletes for a fine 19th position.
In the next boys age group Under 15 Jared Rolfe again new to the age group and running against much older athletes finished strongly in 36th place.
Next out where the Under 17 mens team made up of Jacob Platt, Archie McKellar and Ben Reed. Archie positioned himself well at the start in mid pack whilst Jacob and Ben found themselves pushed out to the rear. Archie was able to run the race at a well judged pace whilst his team mates had the harder job of picking off athletes to make up ground. Jacob known for his speed on the track rapidly covered lost terrain and a supersonic sprint finish saw him overtake his team-mate Archie on the line placing them 16th and 17th, with Ben following in 31st. Such is the determination of these young runners all to achieve even better results at the next match.
Andover’s senior ladies were back out in force, trying to emulate their success in the road race league but in the mud and mire that is cross-country. First home was Kay Noyce in a fantastic 52nd position (17th vet), followed by a beaming Janie Parker in 96th (41st vet), rounding up the vets team in 111th (49th vet) Caroline Bennett. Returning to the club after a few years out in the wilderness was Carrie Power in 114th. The results put Andover women in a respectable 16th position overall and 9th in the veteran league.
The men’s team were also out in force, with the talented Chris Neil flying around the 4 lap course to finish 40th overall. Next home was Steve Brett in 76th (14th vet) followed by Dougie Brisco in 94th (20th vet and brilliantly first over 60!). New to the club was Ben Lewis with a strong debut performance in 126th. After being gently coaxed into competing by his team mates, Tim Bennett finished in 161st, with James Coney rounding up the men’s team in 197th. The results put the mens team in 4th place in division 2, whilst the newly promoted veteran team sit in a respectable 7th place in division 1.
Next fixture is Saturday 8th November 2014 at Goodwood, Chichester.