Silver medal for Bedford men at nationals

The Bedford men won team silver at the English National Cross Country Championships

The Bedford men won team silver at the English National Cross Country Championships

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The Bedford and County AC men took second place at the English National Cross Country Championships which were held at a very muddy Parliament Hill Fields in Hampstead Heath, London.

As reigning champions, Bedford went into the event with hopes of mounting a robust defence of their title.

With the squad strengthened somewhat from that which won the South of England title four weeks ago, a podium finish was the main target, with the squad also having an outside chance of retaining the title.

The squad got off to a flying start, with seven of the team handily placed in the top-100 in the field of over 2,000 runners within the first mile.

A third of the way into the race, Neilson Hall and new member Alex Short were both in the leading group of 20 or so.

John Eves and Matt Leach were not far behind, and it was apparent that medals were a real possibility, although Midland Champions Notts AC were already beginning to look good for the win.

And so it proved, with Bedford taking the silver medals with a total of 265 points behind Notts AC’s winning score of 213 points.

Hall ran superbly, finishing in an excellent 12th place with 40:25 for the 12k of liquid mud.

Short also ran superbly to place 19th with 40:41. John Eves had his best run at National level, placing 30th with 41:15.

The scoring six were closed in by Luke Humphreys with a terrific 55th in 42:07; Leach 57th in 42:14; and Will Mackay 92nd in 43:19.

These were followed home by James Hoad 132nd, Huw Lobb 139th, Josh Lunn 187th, Andy McMulkin 291st, Ollie Saville 304th, Craig Emmerson 384th, Will Bowers 450th, Stuart Still 484th, Tom Roberts 1403rd, and Simon Murray in 1,936th.

The club’s U20 men had a very frustrating afternoon, yet again finishing just outside the medals in fourth place.

Ben Alcock was first home for Bedford in 31st in the field of 190 with a time of 36:05 for the 10K course.

Jack Douglas was 38th with 36:26, Sam Knee-Robinson 43rd with 36:46, Andrew Headley 54th with 37:16, Stephen Headley 73rd with 38:10, and Matt Bray 78th with 38:23.