Travelling up on Friday, we stayed in Slough, famous for being the location of The Office and having Europe’s biggest trading estate, amongst many other things. Fuelled from a hearty Travelodge breakfast the next morning, the team headed to Horsenden Hill for the beginning of proceedings.
With the sun shining and anticipation and excitement effervescent, the day was set to be a good ‘un. First off was the Women’s Short Race (6km), with over 400 competing. A team of 7 took on the muddy, twisting course and showed great resilience with a top 300 placings for Isabel Wherritt (170), Stephy Puxty (235), Katie Atkinson (252), Laura Havis (279), and Emily Bickerstaff (299), a fantastic achievement against exceptionally strong competition. The Men’s Short Race (8km) quickly followed, which witnessed an equally impressive turnout of nearly 500 athletes. Edward Pettitt smashed his run, with an exceptional 33rd. Through increasingly difficult conditions, a tightly packed Newcastle team followed, with Jamie Styles (246), Michael Burgess (266), Christian Lim (398) and Daniel Sarkissan (399) all managing to secure a place in the top 400.
Next up was the Women’s Long Race (8km). At this point, the mud at certain parts of the course was becoming almost impossible to run through. Once again NUAXC showed that they were more than capable at matching some of the nation’s best runners, with an outstanding top 100 placing from Shona Haston (91), closely followed by Emily Fern Jones (108), Hannah Thom (124) and Natasha Schmidt (133). The final race of the day was the Men’s Long Race (10km). The race started at a furious pace, and Toby Loveday could not resist the temptation of achieving ‘BUCS 100m’ glory, posing to the crowds after an incredible sub 10 second effort. James Puxty led the lads home (115), followed by Sean Barry (134), Will Brockman (161), Toby Loveday (201), Alex Stokes (202), and Chris Robinson (218).
Some silent disco and DJ action followed at the Brunel Uni SU, at which only a few hardy souls survived to the end. Overall, the weekend was a huge success, many thanks to those involved with organising it.