SXCL Race6 – Polecat Valley

The final race in the Southern Cross Country league Series was hosted by Haslemere Borders AC (HBAC) last Sunday, 26th February. The race took place in the glorious back drop of the National Trust's Devil's Punch Bowl starting in Polecat Valley next to the Royal School in Haslemere. HBAC had a great turn out as usual but not only runners this time. The club came together on the day not only to run but to bake cakes, marshall the course, record scores, direct the parking of cars and many other roles that play a part when hosting an event of such nature.

HBAC went into the race already knowing that they had secured the title of Southern Cross Country League Champions 2016/2017 but they still wanted to finish the league on top form with a final race win of the season. The team gathered at the start feeling nervous and excited to be racing on their own home turf. Knowing the terrain and the impending hills they had the advantage of being able to pace the race to allow for what was to come.

The course started with a narrow steady climb up to Gibbet Hill, which saw the pack immediately separate with the front runners driving the pace at the front. A quick glance at the view from Gibbet Hill it was straight onto a B.O.A.T road which allowed those that favour a road race to pick up the pace. The majority of the first half of the race was mainly downhill which only meant one thing! As soon as the runners crossed the river deep in the valley the climb commenced. A very challenging stretch of the race took the runners up the long climb of the infamous hill, the majority of runners having to walk the final part of it. HBAC runners were fortunate to have strong support from friends and family cheering them on at the summit of this formidable climb.

From there the runners were then able to stretch their legs out for the final mile. With the finish line in sight most were able to achieve a strong sprint finish with the knowledge of there being tea and cake waiting for them back at the Royal School.

Results were as follows:-

Scoring for the team was Dave Taylor 3rd, Tom Mendum 4th, Luke Shearring 10th, Harry Wood 21st and Dan Allaway 26th. Other results were Chris Shipley 36th, Chris Lee 49th, John Fairs 51st, Graham McDougall 68th, John Raynor 70th, Rob Unwin 76th, Dave Rutter 103rd, Alastair Doyle 110th, Jonathan Barker 118th, Tom Bampton 142nd and Steve Currie 143rd. Great running from all the chaps gave them overall 2nd place to Basingstoke and Mid Hants.

In the women's race and scoring for the club were Katy Ward 3rd, Donna Read 6th and Sofia Shearring 10th. Other results were Issy Peters 12th, Amy Smith 19th, Philomel Pike 30th, Steph Moss 61st, Becca Weighall 64th, Jenny Arthur 68th, Sarah Bergquist 73rd
and Kate Elmer 105th. Once again the strong ladies team secured 1st place with these results. Combined men and women results meant Borders took first place overall on the day.

It was then made official HBAC had won the league! The first time in their club history. Every member of the club have helped to achieve this ,whether they had ran all 6 races, one race or supported in some way hosting their own club's event.

The deputy major presented the champion's cup to HBAC's Cross Country Captains Amy Smith, Sofia Shearring and Andy Wareham (Race Director) to loud cheers from club members and supporters.

Cub Chairman Bob Monteath said "We won the race, we won the league, who could ask for anything more. It has taken me 33 in years in the club to see this. I hope I don't have to wait the same again".


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