The annual BUCS XC races are some of the most anticipated on the University running calendar, and the Hare and Hounds never fail to send their best down South to show exactly why we’re considered one of the country’s best clubs. Experienced Haries will know that nothing can put us off competing in this race – not rain, or mud, nor even nine hour long bus journeys. So imagine our delight as we walked into Graves Park in Sheffield to find glorious sunshine cascading across the (soon to be devastated) green lawn.
Yet in traditional BUCS style, there was no shortage of mud and we still managed to almost lose toes to the chilly air – as I write this I am starting on my third round of antibiotics. Now that’s what I call dedication to the cause. It was worth it, however, as the three races were some of the most exciting running I’ve witnessed in a while. Mo Farah, eat your heart out.
The men’s A Race flew off the starting line at 12 o’clock, and our team had a strong start on the 10.3km course. Overall their efforts hurtled them into 8th place in the team rankings, highlighting the remarkable team work that the Haries take pride in. The first man in green across the line was Logan Rees, completing an exceptional performance in the longer race in a time of 33:21, ultimately coming in 28th place. Despite the mud, he managed to keep that fetching white cap spotlessly clean. Hot on his heels was Scott Stirling, who deserves accolade not just for running a fantastic time of 33:22, but for managing to balance travelling down South with his Uni exams.
The next Harie across the line was Euan Gillham, who is having an excellent running season. He finished in 56th place with a time of 34:15. After putting his roll of loo paper in a safe place, Elisha de Mello ran a tremendous time of 34:38, with fresher Alex Carcas proving that age is just a number by crossing the line only 12 seconds later. This meant that our whole A Team came in the top 80 in a field of over 300 of the finest runners in academia. Mike Crawley also started strong, and will undoubtedly prove his talent in the next race.
Next up was the women’s race at 1pm, covering a distance of 7.3km. This race wasn’t split into A or B Team categories, which meant that all our female runners were competing simultaneously. Following on from their previous success, the incredible teamwork of Steph Pennycook, Mhairi MacLennan, and Louise Mercer ran them to 3rd place overall, picking up bronze medals and 10 BUCS points for the Hare and Hounds. Individually, they all put in brilliant performances, with Steph maintaining her strong start and placing 6th in 26:33. Mhairi crossed the finish line in 26:46, coming 11th, and Louise wasn’t far behind, finishing 14th in a time of 27:05. Less than a minute later Catriona Graves completed the distance in exactly 28 minutes, placing 32nd.
The next green vest across the line was Sophie Collins, who managed 76th place despite face-planting on the course, an event that surely only knocked a few seconds off her great time of 29:35. Eve Mackinnon was right behind her with the same time after demonstrating some hurdling finesse on the hay bales. In 113th place was Captain Amy Frankland in 30:32 and fresher Lydia Blythe proved that she’s a runner to watch, finishing in 31:04. Rosie Wright, Iona Evans and Christine Irvine all managed to cross the line with a sub-35 minute time, paving the way for Maddy Austin and Leda Olia to tear up the course, placing 369th and 455th respectively. Maddy celebrated immediately afterwards with a well-deserved beer. A true Harie.
Amy Bristow completed the course in 38:39 after taking the rapidly deteriorating terrain in her stride. A new member to the club Carla Willars showed her determination by crossing the line in just over 40 minutes, closely followed by #mermaid Rachel Stewart, who finished in 41:38. Emily ‘The Riddler’ Riddell was next to cross the line in exactly 43 minutes, while wearing enough green to realistically challenge for the title of ‘Hariest Harie’ next year. Lauren MacAlister ran steady race to finish in under 45 minutes, completing our women’s effort for this year. Who run ‘da world?
Before my heart-rate could settle back to normal (who needs aerobic exercise, eh?), the next group of male Haries lined up for the B race at 2pm. The distance was slightly shorter at 8.1km, but Lawler’s bits were getting a bit cold anyway. The starting line was a hot-bed of excitement and naked ambition, and as the race began, the green vests of the last Haries to run were a blur across the field. Jack Leitch was the first to finish for Edinburgh, placing 10th in 27:17, closely followed by Jacob ‘Pablo’ Adkin in 12th place, who celebrated his result by splashing the $$$. In 19th place was Alexander Chepelin, who crossed the line 27:45 and consequently collapsed so dramatically I thought I’d have to add an obituary to the end of this report. Luckily he was fine and just over-balanced due to the aerodynamic nature of his hair cut.
Another fine performance came from Craig Campbell, who finished in 31st place in 28:26 and absolutely deserved to be in the team photo. My bad. Nicholas Allen was next across the line in a time of 28:49 and placing 52nd. Doesn’t that man look dashing in a green vest? He was closely followed by James Taylor, who ran a great race, coming 56th in just under 29 minutes. Ewan Davidson completed the course in 29:03, making running the muddy terrain look easy. Alex Luetchford did his Captain’s shorts proud by placing 80th in a time of 29:30, and James Dunn finished in just over 30 minutes, coming 109th.
Seemingly unaffected by his *ahem* antics before the race, Andrew Lawler finished in 30:31, followed by Ben Murphy in 168th place, who managed both a great race and an excellent social (or so I’m told. I was in bed with a hot water bottle at 11pm). Euan Miles put in a great effort to finish in 36:19, with Ben Williamson close behind him, completing the race in 38:31. Shoutout to Cameron Young for his race, we all know he’ll tear up the (Shef)field next time. Geddit?
Thanks to Jack and Eilidh for coming down to support and to everyone for their enthusiasm (and incredible baking. Euan, I love what you can do with an oven). Of course, we are indebted to Frank for driving us safely to the ‘North’ of England. Finally, thank you to Lawler, for mentally scarring me with both his body and his quiz.
See you all in the next race.
Lots of love,
Grandmother Alice and her hot water bottle xoxo