Race rewind: Magnificent Seven tear up trails in Ampthill

Nick Haworth writes:

Blue skies and a somewhat unseasonably warm October morning was the setting for the annual Ampthill Trophy cross country race at Ampthill Park.

The Ampthill Trophy is the third and final event organised by Ampthill Flyers – the other two being the Flitwick 10k held back in April and Marston Forest 5k held back in early June.

Having previously managed to secure the ladies team prize for both races, the ladies team were determined to make it a hat-trick.

Killer and Hannah at start
Hannah and Charlie at the start.

Dating back in one form or another since 1974, the venue has seen a number of distinguished athletes compete including former Biggleswade runner Rodger Wadeley (winner in 1986 and 1987) and Sir Mo Farah (winner of U15 in 1997). Dave Brown and Ken Prior were also known to be regular competitors in the race in their earlier years.

Representing the club this year were seven brave athletes aiming to emulate their forebears along with almost 300 other athletes from all across the home counties.

The course itself is made up of two and half circuits of open grassland and meadow with some thickly wooded sections and steep inclines – a total of 10k but unusually for a cross country had a water station – just as well as it did seem rather warm.

Underfoot the conditions were dry causing runners some concern as to whether to risk running in trial shoes or opt for the lighter but less comfortable spikes. In the end nether choice really seem to matter as a combination of occasional damp ground favoured some whereas the spiky chestnut casings benefited those in harder trial shoes.

The start was a downhill charge.

While Emma Bailey and Natalie Morgan battled with each other over the entire course some of the Biggleswade runners seemed to positively enjoy the experience – despite the obvious discomfort of fellow athletes.

Hannah Broom said “the hills were brutal – all I could do was hold on and try for the best – the end could not come soon enough for me and I was pleased to cross the finish line in 4th female position and was delighted to see my team mates in close succession meaning we secured the ladies prize again – a hat-trick was secured.

Ever more competitive and following on from her super effort at the Great Eastern half marathon was Hannah Broom who managed to scoop the Female V35 award. This performance combined with efforts from Emma and Natalie managed to win them the Ladies Team award ahead of Flitwick Flyers and Bedford Harriers.

ladies medal time
Hannah, Natalie and Emma take their team awards.

Emma summed up her experience as “relentless hills and unseasonably warm for cross country – but wanted to give it my all for the girls team, which we all did! So proud to be in the running club and looking back I even enjoyed it a tiny bit.”

Results
19th
Rob Morgan 43.20
25th Hannah Broom 44:25 (V35 champion, 4th lady)
45th John Stott 47:17
48th Charlie Arnold 47:24
57th Emma Bailey 47:57
58th Natalie Morgan 48:00
184th Ian Clark Skerratt 61:58

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