Fine conditions accompanied the season’s cross country opener at Streatham Common, where the club hosted its 6 mile cross country championships (more like 6.5).
Almost 100 runners, including a strong contingent in the red and black, charged down the opening hill before embarking on the long climb up the east side of the Common, which they were to repeat four times. The principals established themselves at the sharp end, Chris Busaileh, Ben Paviour, Sarwar Khan, Keith Newton and Mike Cummings. All five have been active members of the British League team, with Chris (14.36 for 5000), Sarwar (9.57 for 3000 SC) and Mike Cummings (3.56 for 1500), all setting significant PBs; Ben, delivering his best performances on the track for more than 5 years (15.14 for 5000), and Keith too old to get anywhere near his PBs.
The course is testing, dry but hilly, a perfect antidote to the track season. As Mike dropped off the lead group, the leading four ran together, tempo style, for three quarters of the race, before Chris pulled away on the penultimate lap, to be chased by Ben, who finished a clear second. Keen to defend his title and not leave his effort until the sweeping down hill section, Chris pulled away on the undulating section at the top of the Common, a critical gap that grew towards the end of the race. Third was first vet, Keith Newton (whose daughter Ella looked much more elegant than dad when winning the 1 mile fun run), followed closely by the fast improving Sarwar. Suzanne Swaine won the women’s club championships.
Full results for the race can be downloaded here