The biggest outdoor event of the Winter saw Blackheath & Bromley athletes competing at an extremely muddy and hilly National Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill Fields. With representatives in every race there was plenty for the supporters to cheer with the highlights being team bronze medals for the under 15 girls and the under 13 boys plus a number of fine individual performances.

First home for the under 15 girls was Yasmin Austridge who was rewarded for her positive running with an outstanding 8th place. Behind her in 15th place came Millie Smith, who remarkably is only a first year in the age group. Naomi Kingston was next in 38th with Genevieve Allan closing 79th to secure third place for the team. There was strong back up too with Amy Leach 87th, Kelsi Cornish 98th and Stephanie Taylor 211th.

Last year the under 13 boys narrowly missed out on medals finishing 5th. Twelve months on they raised their game even higher to take third. Rowan Fuss led them home in 10th with Peter Guy just 12 seconds down in 18th. Keir Lundy in 83rd and Joseph Georgiades 84th completed the scoring quartet followed by Sam Reardon in 138th, Matthew Proctor 149th, Thomas Penlington 174th, Cameron Swatton 209th, Jake Leng 253rd and Ethan Kitteridge 307th.

It was not such a successful day for the Senior Men who had finished in the top 20 the previous five years. On this occasion they closed in 44th with Alex Gibbins the first scorer in 247th. Peter Tucker was 295th, Kev May 353rd, Dan Kennedy 528th, Gareth Evans 568th and Tim Nash 631st. With Chris Tuck 837th, Andy Lawes 1714th and Nigel Bulmer 1851st they were 37th in the 9 to score.

This was the third year in a row that the Senior Women did not complete a team. Cath Messent was 609th and Angela Powell 659th but it was four to score in the team race.

Better news came in the under 20s age group where the men finished in 6th place. Will Fuller was first home in 26th with Richard Webb 74th , Will Ruiz 89th and Tom Desborough 124th. This was the highest team placing since 2003 when the Club were 5th. Their best ever was 3rd in 1993. All these races were at Parliament Hill. Samantha Leighton was 82nd in the womens race.

After battling most of last year to get back from injury Niamh Bridson Hubbard’s place on the start line was put in jeopardy when she slipped on the steps at Bromley South Station and sprained her ankle. Restricted to aqua running, she not only got to compete but finished in an excellent 12th place in the under 17 womens race. Similarly Jessica Keene had missed training because of illness but still managed to place 25th. With Georgina Taylor 120th and Mary Guy 149th the team were 4th in the team race, their highest position this Century. Jenny Sheasby was 205th. Joss Barber was a very good 44th in the mens race with James Crawley 218th.

The under 15 boys finished in 19th place with Coleman Corry 101st, Michael Eagling 118th, Oscar Hussey 142nd, Callum Myatt 261st, Charles Andrews 282nd, and Lewis Stickings 290th.

More promising performances came in the under 13 girls race with the squad led home by Jessica Neal in 60th. Rosanna Allan was 120th, Morgan Squibb 138th, Zoe Austridge 213th, Lauren Goddard 312th and Caitlin Prifti 393rd as the team finished in 18th.

The youngsters team managers award for the girls was shared jointly by first under 13 finisher Jessica Neal and under 15 Amy Leach who improved over 100 places from the previous year. Rowan Fuss took the boys award for his 10th place in the under 13s race, This was his first National and he still has another year in the age group.