The 2017/2018 cross country season appears to feature more double header fixtures than in previous years. This weekend started with the third fixture in the Essex League at Writtle. Whilst the course was a welcome change of route from other fixtures this season at this venue, conditions were extremely muddy underfoot. This was particularly evident for Leigh-Anne Porter whose shoes came off leaving her to run the last mile of the race in her socks but making it in the ladies’ scoring team nonetheless.

The ladies had their best finish so far this season in 9th position and still retain hope of remaining in Division 1 as they are only 2 points behind Thrift Green Trotters and 3 points behind Colchester Harriers. The other scorers for the ladies were Rachael Roughan, first back yet again, in 26th position. Mel Candler making a welcome return to cross country after an illness filled festive period in 54th, Wendy Carter in 64th and Leigh-Anne Porter in 70th. Cat Bennison put in a good run in 87th with Nicole Smith in 98th.

The men managed to field a full team thanks to Rob Frost stepping forward at the eleventh hour. Like the ladies, this lead to their best performance in the Essex League this season. Wes Atkins has dominated the men’s team and was first back again in 62nd. There was then some fantastic packing and jostling for position between Jon Greenley (93rd) and Tom Porter (94th) who caught Rob Frost (95th) in the final 100m. Steve May pacing himself to run both days finished in 135th position. Axel Voigt was happy with an improved performance on the Essex Champs the previous weekend and finished in 203rd. Despite finishing 10th in Division 1 on the day, the men remain bottom of the table.

On Sunday it was the turn of the 53-12 League with the venue the grounds of the Suffolk Food Hall in Ipswich under the imposing Orwell Bridge. The first couple of miles of the course are draining on the legs and raise the heart rate as they include a long steady incline which runners have to cover twice. The latter miles were also quite heavy going with some deep sticky mud before a welcome wash of the shoes in a pond prior to heading to the finish.

Wes Atkins, showing no signs of tiredness from the previous day’s efforts, opened the scoring for Halstead in 33rd with Nathan Roulson in 55th position. Stewart Ellis wasn’t far behind in 69th with Ivan Filchev in 90th. Steve May placed well in 100th. Don English put in a cracking performance to complete the scoring team in 111th position. Sam Wolton just missed out in 115th with Phil Jeffries, looking strong all the way round, closing the field for the Halstead men in 165th.

Rachael Roughan, also racing for the second day in a row, unfortunately had to stop in the first couple of miles to tend to her son who was sick. Despite losing quite a lot of ground she made an impressive comeback to lead the ladies’ team home in 28th position. Caroliena Cameron, racing for the first time in a few weeks, finished in 37th position. Anna Bambridge completed the scoring team in 58th. Nicole Smith struggled round again to finish last for Halstead in 69th.

Provisional results for Pool B are Halstead men finished 3rd on the day with the ladies in 4th position meaning Halstead remain 3rd overall.

Photos attached from the Writtle race of ladies team, mens team and Leigh-Anne running carrying her shoes.