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The results of the 2018 Varsity Cross-Country Races can be found here!

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Welcome to Oxford University Cross-Country Club, one of the University’s Full Blue sports. OUCCC caters for those who just like to run socially to athletes competing at a national and international level.

In Michaelmas and Hilary terms we focus on cross-country, while in Trinity Term we join with our sister club, Oxford University Athletics Club (OUAC) and compete on the track. Highlights of the club year include our Varsity Match against Cambridge, BUCS (British University and College Sports) Cross-Country Championships and inter-university relays. These fixtures are open to all, whether you are aiming for a Full Blue or a fun day out.

OUCCC is proudly sponsored by Neptune Investment Management.

II-IV’s Varsity Races 2018

With the first of the two Varsity weekends finally upon us, all eyes were turned towards the Oxford II-IV’s teams on Saturday 24th November, as they took on the Tabs across the grassy plains of Priory Park, St Neots. However, as all runners prepared to set off from the city of dreaming spires, whether the athletes would even make it to the start line had to be called into question as one of the coaches failed to make an appearance on the day. Fortunately, the trusty X5 came to the rescue and ensured that everyone (well, almost) made it to the penultimate stop on this most famous coach route.

The day’s racing action kicked off with the 36th Ladies Seconds’ race at 12:30. Visiting student Caroline Shipley showed her fine American cross-country running pedigree, featuring at the forefront of the leading pack from the early stages of the race. Caroline and Cambridge’s 2015 Blues victor Emily Ruane broke away from the rest of the runners on the second lap of the 5.5km course, with Ruane ultimately taking the individual win, and Caroline coming home second. Cecilie Andersen led in the rest of the Oxford women with a gutsy run, albeit slightly adrift of a large Cambridge pack. Cecilie’s performance was all the more commendable when you consider the fact that she had been training and racing with a broken wrist! Despite her lack of spikes, South African fresher Celeste Renaud was our third Turtle home, with Team Captain Hoogy just behind. Whilst there were some great runs from the Oxford Turtles, we were ultimately beaten by a stronger Cambridge team, of which half were former Blues runners.

Next up were the Tortoises in the 75th Gentlemen’s Seconds’ race: the most hotly anticipated race of the day as per some, and it most certainly did not disappoint. There was nothing between the two teams on the first lap as a huddle of white vests seemed to make its way in perfect formation around the outskirts of the park, weaving in and out of the woods. The field began to break up on the second lap, with OUCCC Men’s Captain, Oliver Paulin ramping up the pace all the way and remaining at the very front of the race. Things were looking good for the Tortoises, especially as Team Captain Aidan continued to make his way further up the field. On the last lap of the 10.3km course it became clear that it was going to be a fight to the finish line for the individual crown with Paulin and CUH&H’s James Coxon neck and neck. Paulin ran an impressive race, finishing as Top Tortoise and winning the prized plate in the process, but lost out on the overall race win by a mere second. Kirk Smith crossed the line in fourth place overall as second Tortoise, leading in a strong Oxford pack of Smiths, broken up nicely by Williams’ visiting student Ken Marshall. Ken was fifth, Liam (Smith 2) sixth and Aidan (Smith 3) seventh. With five Oxford runners in the top seven, Paulin was adamant that the Oxford men couldn’t lose. And once the scores had been added up and a 36-42 Tortoise victory announced, he made sure to make a quick exit to avoid the ensuing well-deserved champagne spraying.

Five minutes behind the Tortoises, the Oxford Snails were off in the 68th Gentlemen’s Thirds’ race, leaving spectators and OUCCCTV lead commentator Luke Cotter running between both groups of runners in an attempt to not miss out on any of the excitement. Another closely contested race, Robbie Brown earned himself the title of OUCCC Super Snail, as well as the much-coveted plate too, crossing the line in 3rd place overall. Positions five through eight were all filled by Oxford runners: Tom Quirk, Christian Smith, Yannick Markhof and former tab turned dark blue Joe Bowness. Although all of the Oxford runners ran extremely well, with finishing times that would not have been out of place in the Men’s Seconds’ race, they narrowly missed out on the overall Thirds’ title. With the Men’s Thirds being the only race that Oxford lost last year, you can rest assured that the Snails will be back stronger than ever before over the Shotover course in 2019.

The penultimate event of the day was the 32nd Ladies’ Thirds’ race, and the first of the two Mob Match races. Thanks to Mob Match Captain Jenny’s valiant efforts at galvanising the Oxford girls, we had more dark blue runners on the start line than the Tabs did, which at an away Mob Match is already a victory in itself. The Oxford women dominated the race from the get set go with Natalie Beadle and Egle-Helene Ervin marking themselves out as early race leaders. Natalie stormed to the overall victory in a time that would’ve seen her figure in the first half of the Ladies’ Seconds’ race, and second place went to Egle. Natalie Haarer, Leah Tillmann-Morris and Annabelle Evans completed the Oxford top five, finishing fourth, sixth and eighth respectively overall. The race was nothing short of a tremendous triumph for OUCCC with the final score being declared as a 346-556 Oxford win.

Finally, it was the turn of the Mob Men in the 61st Gentlemen’s Fourths’ race. Yet more persistent recruiting, this time from Mob Match Captain Peter Guevara, along with his truly inspiring American-football team style motivational pep talk, ensured that a large Oxford team was ready and raring to take on the Tabs. Oxford’s Thomas Renshaw took the individual race title, backed up by Charlie Sneddon in second place, producing a repeat of the Oxford 1-2 finish we saw in the Ladies’ Mob Match. Joseph Grehan Bradley, OUCCC’s Marathon rep Rahil Sachak-Patwa and Ben Passey closed out the Oxford top five in overall places fourth, fifth and seventh respectively. The somewhat complicated Mob Match scoring system makes tallying up the points, whilst spectating and supporting, tricky for even the most talented of Oxford mathematicians. Everyone was waiting with baited breaths to hear the outcome of the race and fortunately we were able to celebrate another Oxford victory (943-1066).

The Mob Matches really encapsulate the essence of what cross-country running truly is about and to win both at an away II-IV’s Varsity Match is a brilliant result, and something that hadn’t previously been achieved by the Oxford Teams in quite some time. Moreover, it’s a result that highlights the incredibly high level of strength and depth that we are fortunate enough to have here at OUCCC at present, as well as the awesome team spirit. Huge congratulations to every single Oxford runner who competed in Varsity, giving it everything in their races and in doing so, helping to secure some fantastic Oxford wins. Many thanks must go to Su-Min Lee and the rest of the Cambridge Hare and Hounds for organising such a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable day of racing at St Neots. Thank you also to all the light blue runners for providing such good opposition across many tightly fought races. And with the score for the 2018 Varsity Cross-Country Races standing in balance at 3-2 at the culmination of the II-IV’s Matches, the overall result for this year was far from certain. With the Blues races yet to come, all dark blue hopes were to be pinned on the Oxford Blues Teams as they took on the fields, brooks and Butts of Wimbledon Common the following weekend…

Helene Greenwood, Club Captain

2018 OUCCC Pre-Season September Training Camp

Each year OUCCC organises a Pre-Season Training Camp in mid- or late September, a few weeks before the start of Michaelmas Term in order to get reacquainted with miles, hills and each other. For sure one of the highlights of the OUCCC calendar, incoming Fresher, Daniel Bundred, reports on our 2018 Pre-Season September Training Camp.

From September 13th-18th, this year’s camp was hosted at Gibside Stables, a long way north of the Pret-Greggs border. Still, this did not seem to hamper attendance as ­­­­­­­­­OUCCC turned up in force. Gibside Stables provided us with a wealth of scenic routes and the group wasted no time in making use of them with a variety of runs on Thursday evening. Extreme Pictionary made its return, albeit with the Yeti being transformed into a “caveman driving a Bentley”.

Friday began with a trip to a local pool, followed in the afternoon by an easy out and back along the Derwent Walk local disused railway trail and Dutty’s core session (complete with Paulin’s timing/commentary). Friday evening saw Paulin’s famous chicken curry before the arrival of Joe Dugdale.

Woodsy then went on to join Noah, Tim and Aidan at the Simonside Fell race on Saturday, with the latter two claiming 3rd and 1st place respectively, but not before Dutty became first finisher at this week’s Gibside parkrun, missing out on the course record by a mere 21s! There were solid performances also from Connor, Helene, Claire and Ellen with the ladies acquiring an impressive 1,2,3! The rest of us began our session an hour later with 1 mile tempo followed by 2 or 3 each of 4 and 2 minute efforts. After more running that afternoon, we assembled for pizza in the café at 18:00. Unfortunately, two dozen pizza orders proved too much for the National Trust to handle and the alcohol consumed by the time they had arrived at 20:00 laid the foundations for the events of later that night. More on that from our Social Secretary: Tim Harrison.

Sunday morning featured some impressive mileage nonetheless, with all except Woodsy surviving unscathed. There was a well navigated 10 miles around Chopwell woods as well as a 14 mile 1474ft run through the Pennines from Stanhope. Sunday afternoon was spent proving you’re never too old for the low ropes, with Dutty, Sam and Dani finding new ways to make the course more challenging. Sunday was quiz night, with Woodsy and Paulin taking us through a wealth of OUCCC trivia from how to be a supple leopard to last year’s Varsity results.


On Monday, there was more swimming, along with several morning and afternoon runs. Those who didn’t go swimming enjoyed a few games of hats, featuring Dutty’s “savagery” and an impressive number of references to Garforth given his absence. The evening featured an OUCCC singalong inc top hits such as “Luuuuk Metselaaar!!!!!!!!!!!” and “No Sympathy For Oli Paulin”.

Before leaving on Tuesday it was time for our second session. 2 miles at tempo followed by a pyramid (30,60,90,120,90,60,30 [1’’ jog]). The session was well run by all and marked the end of a successful 6 days of training; well done to all!

An enormous thank you to all those who helped organise the camp. In particular to Club Captain Helene Greenwood and Men’s Captain Oliver Paulin for their tremendous efforts in organising the camp! Thanks also to all those who helped ferry people to/from the station, those who helped produce copious amounts of wonderful food, those who baked beforehand and indeed to everyone who came for making all the Freshers feel so welcome and for sharing so much useful advice. A huge thank you also to Lesley Byrant for travelling all the way up north to administer deep tissue therapy as well as a fantastic workshop on Friday.

Daniel Bundred, St John’s College

Neptune BMC Iffley Festival of Miles 2018

The last weekend of July saw OUCCC host its annual Iffley Festival of Miles, with this being the second year running that the club has organised the entirety of the event. 2018 would prove to be a special occasion indeed with Iffley Road being the home of the first sub-4-minute mile and Sir Roger Bannister’s passing in March of this year, which merited the inclusion of the flagship race of the BMC ‘Sir Roger Bannister Memorial Mile’ series.

The Iffley Festival of Miles races were scheduled first, preceding those of the BMC, and OUAC’s Matt Newton took first place in the 600m A race in a time of 1.25.71, whilst Penny Oliver took gold in the B race with 1.43.02. The more popular Open Mile races followed the 600s with several past and present OUCCC members competing. A stacked B race included Steven Diggin, Connor McGuirk, Chris Hutchinson and Flo Scrafton. Steven and Connor managed to be well under 5 minutes while Chris just missed out by a second. Flo ran a 5.07, but this was only her first event of the day. Kirk Smith made the cut for the A race and finished in 4th place, boasting a time of 4.33.35.

The final Iffley Miles race was a rather diminished 3000m with only around half of the entries making the start line, although both Oxford and Cambridge athletes lined up in unfavourable conditions. Ten athletes overcame the wind with Joe Woods and Lea Roumazeilles in dark blue and Jacob Brockmann, Su-Min Lee and Lauren Major wearing the minty green of Cambridge.

The BMC Regional meet made up the second part of the afternoon with the 800m races first up. Few PBs were to be had in the men’s races where the fastest time on the day was 1.53.18 from Edward Dodd of Portsmouth, but the women’s races drew much more Achilles attention. Isabelle Scott and Dani Chattenton of OUAC ran the A race with Issy finishing in an impressive 3rd in 2.11.14, whilst Dani was the only woman to pick up a PB in the field. Niamh Bridson-Hubbard of Cambridge was 4th in the B race and Flo Scrafton bagged a SB in the C race, having already ran a mile!

A minute of silence was then held in honour of the late Sir Roger Bannister before the eagerly anticipated Mile races in which we hoped a replication of his feat would be achieved some 64 years on. The A race was stacked with quality; Phil Norman, Jonny Hay, Josh Carr, Jamie Parkinson and Phil Crout, to name but a few. Norman took the win after a battle with Carr but no sub-4 time was to be had unfortunately. The wind had played its part, nevertheless six out of nine athletes recorded a PB or SB. There was not even a place in the A race for Oliver Fox of Cambridge, who took the B race win in 4.17, managing to out-kick James Coxon of the same university. Miles Chandler also featured and ran a SB.

The 2018 event was a huge success in its second year of total OUCCC control despite unfavourable weather conditions in what could only be described as unfortunate timing after having several weeks in a row of only sunshine. Many thanks to Helene, Alex, Charlotte, Oliver, all the officials and the OUCCC pacers on the day for providing such a memorable day of athletics. Thank you also to everyone who made a contribution to the Autonomic Charitable Trust at the event, since this is a charity of which Sir Roger was a founding trustee, and he chose to dedicate his post-athletics academic career to developing the field of autonomic medicine.

Joe Woods, OUCCC Men’s Vice Captain 2018-19

(Photos by James Meiklejohn)