Below you can see reports from recent events OUCCC members have been racing at (if members want to add reports please send them to the webmaster!)

Athletics Varsity 2016: Report

Photograph by Adrian Royle

Photograph by Adrian Royle

Sporting competition between Oxford and Cambridge is known for its traditions. Certainly, 2016’s 142nd ’Varsity Track and Field Match at Iffley Road did not fail to live up to this expectation; the week leading up to 7 May was filled with the usual array of inspirational, yet nevertheless cringe-worthy, team e-mails, delightfully pathetic trash talk about the Tabs, and the composition of individual team members’ ‘pen portraits’, which revealed, once again, the scientists’ distinct lack of creativity. And of course there were the Blues’ blazers and the strawberries and cream as well.

Photograph by Adrian Royle; Jamie Parkinson leads out the 5000m

Photograph by Adrian Royle; Jamie Parkinson leads out the 5000m

Besides the tradition, OUCCC is always keen to innovate and improve. After a few weeks of frenetic mediating with our OUAC partners, our Cambridge counterparts and Achilles AC, we were delighted to be able to kick-off the day, beneath resplendent sunshine, with a development 3000m race open to all Oxford and Cambridge athletes not picked for the Blues or IIs teams. OUCCC had twenty participants in this race, taking the total number of OUCCC members racing on the day up to near-on fifty: a very pleasing achievement as we seek to develop athletes of all abilities throughout the year and give them all access to competitive race experiences. Dan Mulryan and Emma Bulstrode are to be congratulated on their individual triumphs.

Photograph by Adrian Royle; Sophia Saller leads the 5000m

Photograph by Adrian Royle; Sophia Saller leads the 5000m

Competing under OUAC’s banner, OUCCC’s Blues and IIs put in a string of fine individual performances in the endurance events, on what was a pleasing day of athletics all-round. Both the men’s and women’s IIs were victorious, reversing heavy defeats from last year, and this was aided superbly with individual wins from Liz Sandham (800m), Luke Cotter and Emma DeCamp (Mile), Jamie Parkinson (5000m) and new Club Captain Miles Chandler (3000m SC), with eight PB performances across the board in the distance events.

Photograph by Adrian Royle; William Christofi leads the Mile

Photograph by Adrian Royle; William Christofi leads the Mile

Whilst Cambridge were narrow winners in both Blues matches, OUCCC members put in a strong showing and should rest moderately contented that, whilst coming second in a two-team competition is not ideal, there is much evidence to suggest that we have a large and talented group of athletes this year who are enthusiastic, committed, and ever eager to improve. Rachel Skokowski (800m), Sophia Saller (5000m) and Alex Howard (3000m SC) showed high levels of composure and execution to win their races, whilst a quick glance down Power of 10 suggests that Sophia and Alex were joined in recording PBs by Aidan Smith (3000m SC), Miles Weatherseed, Mr Secretary (Mile), and Bethanie Murray (5000m).

Photograph by Adrian Royle; all square at the start of the 800m

Photograph by Adrian Royle; all square at the start of the 800m

The day was also characterised by a number of highly memorable moments, brave performances and amusing anecdotes: Hugo Fleming boldly threw down the gauntlet in the 800m with a blistering 54-second opening lap; Natalie Beadle and new find Mimi Elvidge showed terrific adventure and spirit by taking up the Steeplechase at short notice (I hope the water was not too cold in the water-jump Natalie!); Will Ryle-Hodges and Bethanie Murray had the home crowd suffering collective heart failure after their dramatic and desperate home straight kicks (Bethanie has at last stopped looking at her watch every 200m now, so will not be able to tell you her split for that final section of the race); and it would be wrong not to mention the Stoic resolve and determination of our 5000m women (Sophia, Bethanie, Helene Greenwood and Harriette Drew) for fighting through the second half of their race amidst a diabolical downpour of rain in order to secure their teams’ points.

Photograph by Adrian Royle

Photograph by Adrian Royle

You will not find these ‘informal’ events on the results sheet. Yet they often provide the lasting memories which, alongside the results, contribute hugely towards big competition days like the ’Varsity Match, making them immensely enjoyable occasions, and great adverts for the identity OUCCC aspires to, something which we hope is felt by all of our members.

William Christofi, OUCCC Secretary 2015-17, University College

Full results of the Match can be accessed here.

This report can be accessed as a Word document here.

With thanks to Adrian Royle for permission to use his photos.  Adrian’s full photo album can be accessed here.

BUCS Athletics 2016: Report

BUCS 2016 1

William Christofi settles into the group

Only one week into TrinityTerm and OUCCC were already out in force, competing against the likes of GB international athletes at the 2016 BUCS Athletics Championships, held in Bedford over the early May Bank Holiday weekend. Saturday saw the heats for most events and a large number of our athletes put in some fantastic performances to qualify for Sunday’s semi-finals. Rachel Skokowski came second in her 800m heat and had an excellent run in the semis, coming third and only very narrowly missing out on a spot in the final. Sticking with the speedy 800m runners, Hugo Fleming finished second in his heat, again qualifying for his semi on the Sunday where he finished a very credible fifth. Rebecca Robinson and Hugh Baker also had solid runs in the 800m heats. More middle distance triumphs for Oxford came in the form of Miles Weatherseed and Michael Constante who crossed the line in third and sixth place respectively in their 1500m heats, both reaching the semis where they had strong runs against tough opposition, Miles achieving sixth place in his and Michael ninth.

BUCS 2016 3

Will Ryle-Hodges keeps a Tab behind him, where he belongs

Meanwhile OUCCC had some huge successes over the longer distances. Alex Howard and Aidan Smith had great runs in their 3000m steeplechase heats, finishing fifth and sixth respectively, hence making Monday’s final where Alex finished a superb sixth and Aidan, not far behind, in eighth. Bethanie Murray had a brilliant run in the 5000m heats, and finished a terrific ninth place in the final. William Christofi was nothing short of spectacular as he cruised through to a second place finish in his 5000m heat, ultimately placing sixth in Monday’s final in a time of 14:44, thus achieving the Full Blue standard. Unfortunately Will Ryle-Hodges, with an uncharacteristically slow time in his heat, where he placed ninth, was unable to join Christofi for the 5000m final.  Our highest placed finisher was Miles Unterreiner who gave a truly awesome performance to finish fifth in the 10,000m final, having run in the leading group for the majority of the race.

It is clear from the weekend’s performances that all those tough track sessions have paid off and that Saturday’s Varsity Match on 7 May looks set to be a real thriller. Cambridge should be very worried as there will be some serious shoeing from the Dark Blues…

BUCS 2016 2

Text-book hurdling technique from the former Captain, Alex Howard

Helene Greenwood, OUCCC Women’s Captain 2016-17, University College

This report can be accessed as a Word document here.

Images taken from the BUCS Facebook page here.

Oxford dominate Cambridge at the London Marathon

(L-R): Carly, Kate, Nick, Aitor, Rebecca, Ligita, and Edward

(L-R): Carly, Kate, Nick, Aitor, Rebecca, Ligita, and Edward

On Sunday 24 April, runners from Oxford University Cross-Country Club (OUCCC) took on Cambridge University Hare & Hounds (CUHH) at the 2016 Virgin London Marathon.  The marathon serves as the Varsity Match for the distance, and gives Oxford athletes the chance to compete against their rivals whilst also taking part in the UK’s largest, and most famous, marathon.

In short, Oxford dominated, taking victory in both the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ competition for the second year in a row.  Three women picked up Half Blues: Emma Hodson, Ligita Visockyte and Kate Niehaus (Captain).  Unfortunately there were no Half Blues on the men’s side, though Nicholas Coupe was close in 2:48:25.  Niehaus commented: ‘I think everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and excitement of the day.’

But the London Marathon is much more than just the Varsity Match.  Alongside a record number of finishers, 2016 also saw the one millionth finisher (to be announced on 9 May).  The 2016 event reached a record-breaking £23 million for charity fundraising, which is expected to increase as late donations come in.  The public ballot for the 2017 races opens on Monday 2 May and closes at 5.00 pm on Friday 6 May.  More race reports can be found here and here.

Full Results 

Cambridge Oxford
Females 12:04:16 09:40:34
Males 09:09:15 08:41:20

Overall (lowest overall time wins):


Name University Time Sex
Emma Hodson Oxford 03:11:16 F
Kate Niehaus Oxford 03:14:28 F
Ligita Visockyte Oxford 03:14:50 F
Rebecca Frake Cambridge 03:21:27 F
Rebecca Pullon Oxford 03:27:48 F
Emma Carr Oxford 03:29:17 F
Carly Easby Oxford 03:39:44 F
Teisi Tamming Cambridge 03:55:36 F
Rachel Davies Oxford 04:38:42 F
Felicity Hey Cambridge 04:47:13 F
Harriet Cantrell Cambridge 04:50:53 F
Kamila Nigmatulina Oxford 04:52:40 F
(L-R): Carly, Kate, Rebecca, and Ligita

(L-R): Carly, Kate, Rebecca, and Ligita


Name University Time Sex Notes
Alexander Betts Oxford 02:42:05 M Invalid (professor)
Ben Trigg Cambridge 02:45:51 M
Nicholas Coupe Oxford 02:48:25 M
Justin Ball Oxford 02:55:02 M
Edward Stace Oxford 02:57:53 M
Moritz Matthey Cambridge 03:07:54 M
Aubert Ribaucourt Oxford 03:08:02 M
Edmund Gazeley Cambridge 03:15:30 M
Will Moss Cambridge 03:33:58 M
Yang Li Cambridge 03:43:44 M
Ernest Chen Cambridge 04:25:16 M

VLM, Men

This report can be accessed as a Word document here.

2016 Varsity Athletics: Preview


On 7 May, Oxford’s historic Iffley Road athletics track will host the 142nd Gentlemen’s and 41st Ladies’ Athletics Varsity Matches. Each of the 20 events (19 in the Ladies’ Match) will be fiercely contested by two athletes from Oxford andCambridge, in what can lead to fascinating tactical battles on the track and in the field. The first event of the day will commence at 11:30 am with free entry for all, and there shall be a Pimm’s bar at the track.

The men, hoping to bounce back from defeat last year, will look to maintain their strong record at home from recent years, having only lost twice at Iffley since 1988. They shall be led by second-year Louis Rawlings, whose glittering athletics CV contains multiple French caps at 800m. Rawlings will also line up against Cambridge President James Brooks in the 400m, in what looks set to be an intriguing battle, especially given that all of Oxford’s 2014 BUCS 4×400m silver medal winning quartet have graduated. Further international experience can be drawn on in the Oxford ranks by pole vaulter Rowan May, who will look this year to break the long-standing match record. Former England international and current Cambridge Captain Tom Parker will be leading his team from the front in the heavy throws, but shall be faced by stiff opposition from the Oxford throwers, notably defending javelin champion Arran Davis and counterpart David Korczynski.

In the sprints, Isaac Kitchen-Smith returns with a vengeance, intent on securing his first Varsity victories, having been beaten in a photo finish in 2015. After losing former Captain Sam Trigg to an athletics scholarship in New Mexico, Rhodes Scholar Carl Britto more than makes up for this in the long and triple jump, and he will hope to replicate the form that saw him rank as second junior in India. The distance squad will also be hoping to inflict further damage after securing a whitewash in the cross-country Varsity Matches. Such is the strength of the competition between the distance runners that, at the point of writing, it is still virtually impossible to know who will be competing in which events. That being said, one can be sure that William Christofi, having led the team for much of the cross-country season, shall be targeting victory in the mile or 5000m.

Sam Rawlinson will likewise be looking to overturn a Cambridge victory from last year in the women’s match and close the overall series deficit, as she leads from the front in the short sprints and pole vault, an event in which she has already crushed her PB this year. Her fellow vaulter Silvia Amabilino will be looking for a win in the event after a strong indoor season. Fresher Katie Hannawin will join Rawlinson in the short sprints, having already picked up the Full Blue standard in both the 100m and 200m in her first competition of the season.

They will be backed up by a strong all-round ladies team. Anna Niedbala will hope to pick up victories in the discus and hammer after already recording Full Blue performances in both. Katie Holder will look to build on her Full Blue distance from FEAR to pick up a win in the shot put, while Bella Coutts is aiming to repeat her Freshers’ Varsity Match dominance in the javelin. Several cross-country Blues from last December will lead the distance squad. In particular, Bethanie Murray, ex-cross-country Captain, and Dani Chattenton, will look to learn from their experiences last year in the 5000m and 2000m Steeplechase, respectively.

Despite this talented Oxford team, the fact that both matches will be closely contested only attests to the current quality of Oxbridge athletics. Both matches look certain to come down to the deciding relays at the end of the day, and OUAC President Hugh Baker is keen for large crowds to roar Oxford athletes over the victory line, adding that early season results promise big things.

Alex Howard, 2014-15 OUCCC Captain, Christ Church

This preview can be accessed as a Word document here.