OUCCC was extremely proud to have two members competing in the 2016 European Cross-Country Championships in Chia, Sardinia. With an impressive third place finish at the Liverpool Cross Challenge and trial race, where less than 30 seconds separated the top eight U23 men, William Christofi secured his place on the Great Britain team. Meanwhile over in Ireland Bethanie Murray became national champion to ensure her name was on the start list for the U23 women’s event.
On race day in the Italian sunshine it was Bethanie up first, competing over 6.1km. In typical European cross-country style (ie. with pretty much no resemblance whatsoever to British cross-country), the course consisted of a fast and furious 1500m loop with man-made ramps, hay bale jumps and not a speck of mud in sight. Despite the unfamiliar terrain Bethanie performed well, achieving multiple middle distance PBs on route to 46th place. Perhaps more significantly, the unorthodox course gave Bethanie the opportunity to prove that her feet do in fact lift off the ground when she runs, as she successfully negotiated all necessary obstacles. An international steeple chase vest is surely the next obvious goal.
Over an equally rapid and competitive 8.1km course, Will performed exceptionally well, finishing in 33rd place individually and winning a bronze medal as part of the GB team. This fantastic achievement was celebrated with a trip to the podium, over-indulgence in a controversial choice of cereal bar, and probably some Latin story time.
Both Bethanie and Will returned to Oxford with tales of a thoroughly enjoyable trip to their first international championships. From beach runs, fancy hotels and crazy after parties to meeting AW cover stars and receiving a whole new wardrobe of team kit, it certainly sounds like an experience neither will forget quickly. And apparently the race was quite good fun too.
Full results can be found here.
Laura Fenwick, Lady Margaret Hall