Weekend Report - 25th/26th November 2017
Tonbridge Qualify for Europe and Chris Olley Makes Great Britain Team
Sefton Park, Liverpool, once again hosted what is probably the highest quality distance-running event in the UK, on Saturday. The British Cross Challenge incorporates trials, in three age groups, for the European Championships, which take place on 10th December, in Slovakia.
The senior men's race was so full of distance running talent that recent 2.09 marathon runner, Dewi Griffiths, finished fourth and Olympic 5000 metre finalist Andy Butchart was fifth. The race was won by Ben Connor, the National Cross Country Champion.
Chris Olley was the first of the Tonbridge squad home in 13th but, as third placed under 23, he gained automatic selection for the Great Britain team, in that age group. Max Nicholls, relishing the muddy conditions, finished an excellent 25th, with George Duggan just behind in 28th. Ryan Driscoll was the fourth scorer for the club in 57th. Tonbridge pipped Central AC from Scotland and Swansea Harriers to claim the British title and will now go forward to the European Club Championship, in Portugal, in February.
Also hoping to gain international recognition, for her performance, is Phoebe Barker, who finished seventh amongst a high class under 20 women's field. Six will make the GB team to travel to Slovakia for the European Championships and Barker will hope to be in consideration for this or another international event, in the coming weeks.
Lucy Reid placed a fine 59th in the senior women's race, whilst in the under 20 men's event Jamie Goodge (42nd), James Puxty (47th) and Alasdair Kinloch (50th) all made the top fifty. Katie Goodge was 29th in the under 15 race.
Another Tonbridge AC men's team finished third in the South of Thames Team Championship, at Beckenham, on Saturday. Jamie Bryant continued to show excellent form to finish 4th, with Julian Rendall 12th, Greg Cole 22nd and Jack Keywood 26th.
Completing a busy weekend for the club were plenty of runners at the Kent Cross Country League, held at Danson Park, Bexleyheath. There were three individual wins for the club coming from Olivia Breed (under 13), Fraser Gordon (under 15) and Maria Heslop, who won the senior ladies race, over five kilometres, by twelve seconds.
With the eight young athlete age groups completing their Kent League season, Tonbridge won five of the team titles.
This Saturday 2nd December, the Kent Veterans Championships, will be held at Dartford, with Tonbridge fielding good numbers across the age groups.