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.

-Joseph Woods, St Peter’s College, OUCCC Men’s Vice Captain 2018-19

-Photos by James Meiklejohn

2018 OUCCC Pre-season Training Camp

For sure one of the highlights of the OUCCC calendar, this year for our September Pre-season Training Camp, we will be going to Gibside Stables, in the Derwent Valley near Newcastle, between Thursday 13th and Tuesday 18th September (5 nights). Price will be between £60-£70 for the 5 nights, which is really good value, secure your spot by paying the £30 deposit. We have sole use of the venue, which sleeps up to 36, so it would be great to have as many people coming as possible.

FRESHERS ARE VERY WELCOME ON TRAINING CAMP! Whether you are new to the club, new to Oxford, new to running, or new (or old) to any combination of the three, you are actively encouraged to get involved. No need to pay the deposit until after Results Day. If you’d like to put your name down to come, please get in touch with Club Captain, Helene Greenwood, at:

Alumni are also welcome, subject to space.

Training Camp Initial Details

OUCCC Takes BUCS Athletics

As the bank holiday weekend dawned bright and sunny on Saturday it was clear to all that the cross-country season was over. The heat was on: it was time for OUCCC to turn its attention to the track and show that we have our share of track athletes mixed in amongst the ‘slow-twitch monsters’ the club is famous for.

The first distance event of the weekend was the men’s 1500m heats which saw three Oxford athletes take to the track in three out of the five heats. The top four in each heat plus the next four fastest times across all heats progressed to the semis, an incredibly difficult task in a stacked field with many high pedigree athletes. First up was Miles Weatherseed who had the disadvantage of being in the first heat which tends to yield the fewest fastest losers. He set off well, leading the pack for the first 800m and setting an honest pace, however, unfortunately didn’t quite have enough over the last 400m, narrowly missing out on a qualifying spot much to his frustration. Next up was Luke Cotter, in heat 4, who after a long time out with injury moved back up to the 1500m after placing second in the 800m at cuppers. He raced well, clocking a sub-4 minute time and again narrowly missing out on a spot in the semis. Last up was Alex Gruen, in heat 5, who made his automatic qualification intentions clear from the start and tucking in in second place. He was quite the favourite of the Vinco livestream commentator who spent the majority of the race likening him to an 80s footballer due to the head band and split shorts he was wearing. Gruen finished a comfortable second in his heat, easing down over the line to take his automatic place in the semi finals.

Next up, it was turn of the women to take on the metric mile, with Charlotte Dannatt and Eleanor Bolton flying the flag for Oxford. Charlotte cruised through her heat in 4.41, looking untroubled in her first outing on the track at university. Eleanor ran strongly in third and final heat but didn’t progress in a strong field.

Eleanor Bolton in the heats of the 1500m on Saturday


In the Women’s 800 heats Oxford had only one runner, Natalie Beadle, but what we lacked in quantity we madeup for in quality with Beadle finishing 6th in her competitive heat in a time not too faroff her personal best. The Men’s 800m was up next, again with another stacked field with 10 men having run 1.50 or under. Heat 1 saw Charlie Sneddon finish 5th, clocking a comfortable sub-2 time but this sadly wasn’t enough to see him progress. It was another 5th place finish for Bonnor O’Sullivan in heat 5 which again, sadly meant he missed out on the semi finals.

It seemed strange having heats in the Men’s 3000m steeplechase as it’s only purpose was to remove 3 members of the field – luckily this didn’t include Oxford’s Kirk Smith and Miles Chandler who both ran solid races over the barriers to qualify for the final on the Monday.

Sunday saw the temperature rise further making for uncomfortable conditions for distance running, however, this didn’t stop Gruen achieving another 2nd place finish in a nail-biting semi final. He ran just outside of his PB in a race that was initially pedestrian with a massive final 800m coming in 1.57. This saw a large pack sprinting down the home straight to try and achieve one of the five automatic qualification spots on offer but luckily Gruen used his signature kick, made famous in the DMR at FEAR where he secured the win for Oxford, to secure his spot in the final the following day.

Charlotte Dannatt also had a busy Sunday. She was agonisingly close to making the final, finishing one place below what was needed for qualification, but setting a new 3-second PB, which is very encouraging so early in the season. Not satisfied with two races in two days, she raced in the 4×400, helping the Oxford team to the final and writing her name into the record books as part of the 4th fastest Oxford Women’s 4×400 in history.

Miles Chandler taking flight over the water jump in the 3000m Steeplechase final on Monday


The Men’s 5000m races commenced the action on the final day of competition. Two races were run to cope with the large number of entries and final places allocated based upon the times run by athletes in both races. Oxford had two athletes in the competitive B race, Jack Millar and the returning Miles Weatherseed. Both ran solid races over the twelve-and-a-half laps, a task made more difficult by the rising temperature. Millar finished in 4th place and Weatherseed in 14th. In the gruelling A race Jamie Parkinson, the recent Oxford 2km steeplechase record holder, took to the track finishing in 15th place.

A few hours later the dynamic Oxford 5km duo of Kim Horner and Flo Scrafton took to the track. Kim was up first running in the B race which saw an Oxbridge breakaway in the latter stages. Kim battled hard and was rewarded with an impressive 2nd place and a new PB that was comfortably beneath the Full Blue time. She also comfortably beat one of the Cambridge runners, which bodes well for the fast approaching Varsity match on 19th May at the Iffley Road Track. Flo then took to the track in a high calibre A race, which included two athletes who had recently returned from the Commonwealth Games in Australia. She battled hard in a difficult race finishing 12th in the stacked field.

In the final of the Men’s Steeplechase Smith and Chandler appeared to have recovered well after the heats on Saturday, finishing 9th and 7th respectively and running far faster than they did to qualify.

Oxford had two athletes of interest in the Women’s 2km Steeplechase. BUCS indoors 1500m silver medallist Dani Chattenton demonstrated her class with an impressive 4th place finish and comfortable Blues time, whilst Anna Sharp also rose to the occasion, smashing her PB by around 20 seconds and running her first Full Blue time, an amazing feat in such tough conditions.

The last distance event of the day with Oxford interest was the Men’s 1500m which saw Alex Gruen return to the track for the 3rd day in a row – a highly difficult and exhausting task, especially after such a competitive semi final the previous day. He finished in 10th place, an impressive achievement after so many consecutive days of high level competition in the heat and in a field boasting many international athletes. All in all, it was a successful weekend for OUCCC, but we know we’ll have to raise our game again in order to succeed in our home Varsity match in a little under two weeks.


Charlotte Dannatt, St John’s College, and Alex Gruen, Balliol College


Top 10 Finish for Eoghan Totten at London Marathon

Oxford PhD student Eoghan Totten finished tenth in the 2018 London Marathon on Sunday, running the non-elite race in a time of two hours and 26 minutes.

One of over 40,000 runners completing the field, Totten will be the first Oxford athlete to earn a full blue in marathon. He completed the race, which was also his marathon debut, within the full blue standard time of two hours 30 minutes.

Earlier this year, Totten represented Northern Ireland in the Antrim International Cross Country.

Speaking about his debut, Totten told Cherwell: “I learned that you must respect the distance and that factors at variance with other, shorter distances, come into play over 26.2.

“For example, I was not aerobically taxed today but troubled by cramps from fluid intake, which impeded my running. I will learn from the experience and move forward.”

The marathon varsity match was won by the Oxford men’s team, however the Cambridge Hare and Hounds won the women’s match, bringing OUCCC’s varsity record this year to seven wins out of nine matches.

Katie Truslove, a junior dean at St Hilda’s College, led the Oxford women’s team, finishing in just under three and a half hours.

Rahil Sachak-Patwa was the second Oxford finisher with a time of two hours and 41 minutes, which falls within the half-blue standard and beats his personal best by one second. This is an improvement on last year, when Rahil collapsed during the closing stages of the marathon.

Eliud Kipchoge, who visited the Oxford Union for a talk about his marathon successes in Michaelmas, won the men’s marathon with a healthy lead, in a time of two hours and four minutes.

Vivian Cheruiyot, the 2016 Olympic 5000m champion, won her first London Marathon in the women’s race.

The marathon was the hottest on record, reaching a top of 24˚C.

In related news, Alexander Betts, a professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs and fellow at Green Templeton College, completed the 2018 Boston Marathon earlier this month.

In doing so, Betts set the world record for running the six Abbott World Marathon Majors in the fastest combined time, averaging at two hours 41 minutes.

-Alice Bruce, Mansfield College