Athletics Varsity 2014

For some of the cross country club, the track season is the dessert to the main course of cross country. It’s the treat.

And Varsity Athletics 2014 certainly was a treat. The Men’s Blues team took the match against a very strong (and confident) Cambridge Blues team, whilst the Mens Seconds narrowly lost a close-fought contest. The Women’s Blues and Seconds both lost, but not without valiant performances in the long distance events.

Starting with the Women’s, Rose Penfold and Sarah McCuaig ran away (quite literally) with the points in the 800m race, with quality performances. Both doubled up in the Mile too, coming away with 2nd and 3rd. The contribution to the team from both runners cannot be underestimated on a hot and punishing day at the track. Kate Neihaus and Emma Hodson gave it everything in the 5000m, but Cambridge’s strength in this area shone through giving them 1st and 2nd.

In the Men’s, OUCCC’s hero Tom Frith showed the adoring masses that he’s still got it. Knicknamed “The Donkey” due to his famed kick*, he took the 800m title (again) in a race controlled by Fresher Will Durkin from the gun. A valiant performance from Cambridge’s Lloyd Hilton gave Cambridge 2nd. Alex Howard showed that “you can’t win anything with kids” was just as wrong in 1998 as it is now (quote Alan Hansen, on Match of the Day) with a win in the 3k Steeple. Big things expected from this boy. In the Mile and 5000, Cambridge’s Matt Leach showed his quality with a Double win. Fresher William Christofi performed valiantly to finish strongly in 2nd in the Mile. Chris Phillips-Hart gave Cambridge a scare in the 5k, but it unfortunately a Cambridge 1, 2 meant that the Light Blues edged the distance events by one point. Far from “embarrassing”, but not a win. Looking forward to next year. *not actually one of Tom’s knicknames

In terms of the Men’s and Women’s Seconds, special commendations go to Jamie Parkinson, winning the 5k in 15.18. Unfortunately for Jamie (and Cambridge), a cross country season beckons for him. Aidan Smith and James Taylor secured the 1,2 in the 3k Steeple, whilst Katie Hickson’s won in the Mile was the stand out performance for the Women’s Seconds.

One last mention must go to Cambridge’s Paul Hodgson, helping Oxford Blues’ steeple chaser Tom Quirk across the line in their race following Tom’s sustaining of a bad foot injury. There’s the good and the great. The good win their races. The great give even more than that.

Onto the next Varsity match.

OUCCC Pre-Season Training Camp

Sponsored by OUCCC Old Members

A group of new and old OUCCC members have just returned from a fantastic week on pre-season training camp. It was a brilliant time to get to know each other bond as a team and kick-start training for the term of Tab-bashing ahead. The week is summed up perfectly by newcomer, Archie Jones:


Training Camp IThe OUCCC training camp was a perfect start to university. A good mix of new and old, the group gelled wonderfully to create a really welcoming environment for incoming freshers such as myself. Though the trip was and should be geared around the training, the week was really made by the people there. Raft building, blackberry picking and a bonfire provided a perfect foil to sessions while the atmosphere was at all times chilled out and friendly. At the risk of descending into histrionics, the experience was singularly great; leaving me filled with motivation for the season ahead. I didn’t do much of my essay mind you…

The training itself was tough but honest, with the right combination of miles, quality and gym work for the time of year. Guest strength and conditioning coach Ruddi Farquharson led the stand out session of the week, leaving some of us (well, me) hobbling for days afterwards… It was also great to see a squad of mixed ability training as a group where possible, with each of us pushing ourselves to the best of our own abilities in the quality sessions.

Training Camp IITo anyone considering cross country at Oxford; get involved! If you missed the pre-season camp for this year, pop down to any of our sessions to train with a great group of people! We’re also off to Portugal over Easter apparently… Finally, if you’re a runner starting at Oxford in October 2014 then don’t hesitate to sign up for next year’s camp, it really is a great introduction.

We were lucky enough to be joined by several experts. Our committed coach Jenny Harris kindly came and took our two main sessions; Dave Sunderland, head coach at England Athletics, gave us an inspirational talk and answered our questions on the key aspects training, particularly as students; and highlight of the week was certainly the strength and conditioning session lead by Birmingham University’s strength and conditioning coach, Ruddi Farquharson. Other highlights included our Women’s Vice Captain Rosemary Hurford’s wonderful cooking, raft building in which the Captain was the first to end up in the river and the composition of a new OUCCC anthem!

I couldn’t have asked for a nicer group of people or for the week to have gone more smoothly. Everyone was enthusiastic, up for anything and clearly committed to the club and competitions coming up! I must also thank the Old Gits for your support. OUCCC couldn’t have done it without you! The week has left me inspired and very positive about the big races ahead of us. Now it’s time to recruit some more freshers and shoe some Tabs!

Training Camp III

Naomi Webber, Club Captain
October 2013