THE South of England Cross Country Main Championships Race was held at the all-famous Parliament Hill Fields in London on Saturday.

There was a huge turnout of exited and nervous athletes all raring to go with up to 158 clubs entering the race over the different age categories.

The race is famous for its mud and it certainly did not disappoint this year. Every race started with a long run up quite a steep and slippery hill and carried on with a combination of energy-sapping mud and undulating hills with different combinations of short and long laps.

The six Maidenhead Athletics Club runners all finished in some strong positions in their field and did extremely well considering how hard the course was.

Alana Bodell ran a four-kilometre (4km) course in the Under 15s girls’ race and finished in 25 minutes and 15 seconds (25.15) for 299th place. Lili Rawlings took on the 5km course in the U17s girls’ event and ran 23.53 for 96th position whilst Abbie Jones clocked 28.52 over the 6km distance for 32nd spot in the U20s competition.

The senior women had to compete over 8km and Mel Tudor finished in 40.25 for 308th position and Caroline Shrimpton 41.51 for 361st place. Leila Oliver last ran the race for the club and 2008 but clocked 41.57 for 366th spot.

There were 694 women in the race so for the three Maidenhead athletes to finish in the middle of the field is very impressive.

Royal Borough Observer:

PHOTO: Proof of the muddy conditions at the Parliament Hill Fields in London.

Lee Bodell – the father of Alana Bodell – ran for Cookham with 1,172 other men in the male senior race and came home in 866th position with a time of one hour 12 minutes and one second over the 15km course.

There is one last race four a couple of members – the Nationals Cross Country in Nottingham on Saturday 22nd February before the club’s successful winter season will come to an end.

Four club runners took part in the Farnborough Half Marathon on Sunday. It was a qualifying race for the English Athletics Masters Team.

Stu Bunyan led the quartet home in 1:37.06 ahead of Dave Fitzgerald (1:53.10), Richard Pink (2:09.23) and Dave Waterman (2:19.04).

It was a slowest-ever Half Marathon finish for Waterman, but he finished in third position in his age group and therefore qualified for the Masters Team for the championship race at the Fleet Half Marathon on Sunday 15th March.