Runners make a splash at Keysoe Equestrian Centre

The watersplash was a popular feature of the course, as Jono Janes demonstrates
The watersplash was a popular feature of the course, as Jono Janes demonstrates

Bedford and County’s senior, veteran and junior men were in action at the weekend in the second Chiltern League cross country fixture of the season.

The fixture was staged by Bedford and County AC in the wonderful setting of the Keysoe Equestrian Centre.

The race incorporated one of the equestrian cross country course’s most popular features – the watersplash.

This novel addition to the course, which the senior men had to wade their way through three times, proved extremely popular with athletes and the large crowd of cheering spectators.

With a total of just over 1,000 athletes competing across the 10 age group races – from U11 boys and girls to senior men and women’s races – the event was a huge success despite some torrential rain.

Bedford and County’s athletes were quickly to the fore in the combined senior/junior/veterans’ 8.6km race over three laps of the fast and picturesque course.

The race also included a number of guest runners from the RAF and Oxford University who had their own race within a race.

Bedford’s England junior international Ben Alcock finished as winner of the league race with a time of 27:41 for the 8.6km but was beaten to the race victory by two of the Oxford University guests.

Fellow junior Jono Janes had another fine run, finishing third in the league race in a time of 28:01.

Seniors Ryan Parker, Luke Humphreys and Josh Lunn followed in fourth, sixth, and seventh places, respectively.

These were followed home by Andrew Headley (29:17), Jake Barraclough (29:24), Jack Douglas (29:54), Alan Turnbull (30:11), Sean Still (30:13), Matt Bray (30:19), Andy McMulkin (30:34), Massi Dendani (30:38), Sam Bennett (31:49), Stuart Still (32:06), Andy Blair (34:17), Pete Benedickter (35:55), Jim Black (36:16), Tom Roberts (36:26), Martyn Blackwell (36:28), Mick Russell (40:35) and Simon Murray (44:19).

With Bedford having 10 runners in the top-25 places, a very easy team victory was never in doubt.

Bedford also boasted the first three junior men and six of the top-eight, meaning they had no trouble in sealing their comfortable victory and stretching their already considerable lead at the top of the league standings.