The cross country season started in style on Sunday 3rd November, with the opening race of the 53-12 series. The weather was perfect for this race, held in Hylands Park, Chelmsford and hosted by Springfield Striders. This excellent course undulates through the park, taking in as many ditches and water features that the Striders can fit in.
Great Bentley had a good turnout of runners, both senior and junior, with a good mix of cross country veterans and first timers. In the junior race runners were Katie and Milly Presland, Harrison Leek, Hallie Booty, Kieran Willey and Amie Apps. Harrison, Amie and Kieran were running cross country for the first time. Junior runners’ coordinator Vicky Presland commented that Hallie Booty had improved in leaps and bounds since her last season.
Senior men were Barry Martin, Graham Semple, Rodger Alexander, Paul Carlisle, Des Bishop, Darren Willey, Mark Ross, Kevin James, Patrick Reynolds, John Booty, Shawn Leek, Charlie Keitch, Kevin Stevens, Jamie Neill, Clive Jones, Andy Fuller, Ryan Bedingfield, Michael Simmons, Russ Sharp, Ben Ficken and Mark Crittenden. Senior women were Lex Carlisle, Karen Skene, Vicky Presland, Michelle Parry, Lynsey Apps, Sophie Apps, Theresa Bishop, Marion Simmons, Claire Reynolds, Sandra James, Sue Sorrell, Anna Lyon, Janine Simpson, Lesley Fuller and Davina Swindell. Great Bentley finished fourth overall in Pool A.
The previous Sunday, Rodger Alexander completed the Stort 30 mile trail run, coming 47th out of 125 runners. This scenic out and back run takes place along the River Stort navigation channel in Hertforshire. Alexander took 4h 52m 4s to run the course, which was mainly flat, in windy conditions.