Brighton marathon

Welfare sec smashes 26.2 miles!

Our very own Welfare secretary Nathan Cooper ran the Brighton Marathon on Sunday 12th September. Training for months for this he managed to drop a time of 3 hours 18 minutes and 16 seconds. A huge time. Well done Nathan!


UoNAC Awarded Bronze Charter Mark

UoN Athletics are delighted to have been awarded the Bronze Charter Mark from England Athletics, celebrating the excellent training and competition opportunities for all student athletes. As one of only 7 Universities to have been awarded charter status, it helps reassure that the environment at UoN provides the highest standards of support from the time you arrive in your first year until you graduate.

Find out more about the Charter Mark on the England Athletics website and our offer at UoN here.

North Mids XC- Corby

On a sunny Saturday morning, we headed off to the worlds least picturesque town that is the one and only Corby (joking I’m sure it’s lovely really…) Unfortunately, the coach driver had never used google maps (or even a phone apparently, bless him) and so we arrived just in time for a quick warm-up and a wild wee before the girls headed to the start line! And with that little warning, we were off for 5.5km of muddy fun. Only a few of the older ones had raced this course before so it was new for most of us and seemed to have had mixed opinions with some good woodland trails but some everlasting field figure of eights! Within under 21 minutes, Lauren came storming in at 1st place with Kiri just behind, excellent performance! Just 30 seconds later Martha finished in a very strong 5th place, we seemed to have a constant stream of Nottingham vests coming over the line! In true team spirt we took places 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th with Georgia, Rosie, Ellie and Nicola. I dragged my hungover self in at 20th with Tabi, Debbie, Rachel and Ella all trying to hide from Owen and Joe’s embarrassing use of the megaphone, but all still finishing in great positions with some fab sprint finishes too! Shout out to Katie who had an amazing race even though she ran for her home club, such a strong performance!

Before we had even finished the boys were already off to enjoy a full 3 laps of the mud we had so nicely churned up. The boys race got off to a strong start with Thomas taking the lead within the first 100m which grew as the race progressed. Despite running for his home club he deserves a mention for coming home in 1st place! Close behind was a tight competition between Adam, Owen and Will having all finished close in the previous fixture. By the end of 3 gruelling laps Owen came out ahead of the unstoppable trio in 12th place, shortly followed by Will and Thorpe just behind. Putting in a great performance was Ewan in 22nd, no doubt a great confidence boost ahead of the upcoming BUCS duathlon. Looking comfortable and ever-stronger Henry came in at 31st followed by Joey in 37th. A composed Dan crossed the line in 45th with Saul and Abdullah in 50th and 67th respectively having put in some superb performances on a challenging course, showing all the training is worthwhile. Completing the mens team was a cheerful Joe in 73rd, spurred on by the crowds as he gave us a wave on the home straight. A mention to Calum who took a wrong turn on the warm-up and dropped some quick splits to make it back in time for the start took the sensible decision to take a jog around the local area and support the rest of the team. Such a strong performance for the boys at this race and I think the excellent support from the girls can take some credit for that!

Just as the rain started we headed back in the general direction of the coach (who knew where he was going to be waiting for us) before enduring a chilly minibus home and testing our patience with some interesting navigation of Uni Parks one way system. Finally we were home and ready for a hot shower and dinner!

The girls AND boys are currently in 1st team place by a long way! BIG well done to everyone who competed. I’ve linked the results and pictures below, I hope you all enjoyed it, see you at training soon – Claire + Owen 💚💚

North Mids XC – Derby

On a glorious Saturday, the sun was shining, the paint and glitter was out, and the gazebo was just about on 4 legs (just). After an explore of the course route resulting in soaking wet shoes and socks the 18 strong team of girls headed over to the start line and the gun was off. The course was reasonably kind in terms of mud, but that hill will forever get 10x bigger on the second lap! Green and gold really stood out in a large crowd of 200+ women and the support from the boys was excellent. A stunning performance from Martha taking first place by over half a minute with Georgia storming in at an amazing 6th place, followed by Ellie in 16th and me following in her stride. Within the minute Rosie had an excellent race and came in looking super strong. Next up was Tam, Tabi and Anna all with great sprint finishes! Alexandria smiling the whole way round had a storming race, as did Ruby and Lucy both still with perfect looking face paint! Hannah, Cameron, Robyn and Imogen all doing Uni Of Nottingham proud with some really strong performances and to round it off Ella, Esther and Olivia finished as a trio (great teamwork guys!) with again some sprint finishes to be proud of!

With the girls race wrapped up the boys were off to tackle 3 laps of the course we had so nicely churned up for them (sorry guys). Adam came in a very impressive 9th place with some great pictures from Adrian to go home with too! Next up was a great performance from Will coming in 19th with a fab finish. Closely following behind was Owen and his identifiable face paint, holding his 22nd place into the finish line. A close finish for Henry holding off the runner behind and coming in at an amazing 32nd. Saul and Ewan battled it out for 42nd and 43rd with a close finish and identical times! Dan came in next looking strong followed by Abdullah, Tom. It was a close but strong finish for Joe with Tom, Adam and Ethan rounding it up with cheering from the girls and all putting in cracking times! Finally shout out to Lee who gave an excellent effort despite his rotten cold!

As the day closed in we decided a well earned Maccies was needed before we headed back. An amazing turn out for the Uni and everyone did amazing, you should all be super proud! Particularly those who had never run a cross country race before! (incredible guys!!!) We really hope you all enjoyed the day and got a flavour for whats to come this year, this is just the start and we really hope to see you all at the other races! Lots of Uni Love – Your XC captains 💚💛 

BUCS Nationals 2019!

The 15th February saw an early start for our BUCS team as we left for Sheffield. Some people appeared to pack very lightly, others not so much, some were even prepared for the journey with pillows. The journey there was quiet as usual since everyone was desperately trying to catch up on sleep. When we arrived, the track was deserted and they were still setting up so some also took this opportunity to catch up on much needed sleep. Finally, after two hours of just sitting it was time for registration and we were relieved to only have one potential problem with registration which was quickly resolved! PHEW!

First to take to the track were the men for the 60m heats. Michael ran a storming 60m heat finishing in a new personal best 7.28s! Tom ran in heat 11 and also finished in a fantastic time equalling his personal best from last year, 7.55s. We saw our first competitor in the men’s 60m ambulant heats, Joe and he ran close to his personal best in a time of 9.16s allowing him to progress to the final!

It was now the ladies turn to show how its done and they certainly did this! Hayley ran in heat 6 and won by a clear mile in a great time of 7.41s, enabling her to progress to the semis. Becca was up next in heat 10 and truly found her form, running in a time of 8.16s, another personal best!

The next event on the track was the 60m hurdles. Darren ran a clean race and managed to not let the barriers defeat him this year running it in a time of 9.24s.

Ella was up next representing the women in both the shot putt and the 60m hurdles which were very close together but she managed to put out two strong performances. She too had a clear run in 12.24s and threw the shot a distance of 9.66m. Her mum provided us with some great fuel… cakes and flapjacks which gave us all an energy boost! Thanks Ella’s mum!!

The 800m races were next. First up were the men, with Sam running first in heat 7 in a good time of 2:00.30s at his first BUCS event and Jack ran in heat 9 finishing in another good time of 1:58.03s. Sammy went in the 800m for the women producing a strong run finishing in a fantastic time of 2:26.49s.

Next, we moved back to the field, where Donelle and Beth were competing in the women’s triple jump. Both of them qualified for the final to take place on the Sunday, Donelle jumping a distance 11.07m and Beth jumping 11.45m despite injuring her ankle during the warm up jumps!

Hayley then took place in the semi-finals of the 60m improving on her heat time, running a very fast 7.38s winning her heat again by a long distance.

Joe took place in the ambulant men’s 60m final, again putting in a really strong performance, in a time of 9.18s.

To end the day, Hayley ran in the 60m final. After only the first few strides, Hayley already edged ahead of the others and maintained this to the finish, taking not only the title of BUCS champion 2019 but also equalling the championship record in 7.32s.

The Friday was going to prove difficult to beat but hopefully the Frankie and Benny’s re-energised everyone especially James and George who seem to never get full.

It was a fairly early start on the Saturday for everyone as we all met at the EIS for 9am to watch those who were competing in the morning. First to compete were Alex in the men’s long jump and Lucy in the first pool of the women’s long jump. Alex finished with a best jump of 5.77m, his best jump this indoor season and Lucy finished with a respectable jump of 4.45m.

Meanwhile, Katie was running in the ladies 1500m. She had a really strong run in a time of 4:51.82s returning to competing on an indoor track for the first time in a while.

Next were the men’s 400m heats which featured Giuseppe and Makun. Giuseppe went off like a rocket and finished in a time of 51.1s, beating his previous time by a massive 1.5s! Makun also looked strong until the end of his race finishing very close to Giuseppe’s time in 51.11s, meaning he had to give up the double bed due to losing a bet! They both narrowly missed out on the semi-finals by 0.03s and 0.04s respectively.

Back to the field took us over to the women’s pole vault qualifier with Grace and Katie. Both girls performed well at their first BUCS competition, Katie achieving a height of 2.60m.

Meanwhile, the men’s high jump was taking place featuring Joe and Jamie. Joe narrowly missed out on qualification for the final by one place jumping 1.90m and Jamie jumped a good height of 1.85m finishing just two places behind Joe.

We then moved back to the track for the women’s 400m. Jess had a great run at her first BUCS event finishing 3rd in her heat and qualifying for the semi-final in a time of 60.07s.

Jumping back over to the field for the second pool of the women’s long jump saw Donelle jump a great 5.14m.

As usual, the mascot race was good fun, we need to find our own mascot for next year! Maybe we should have an elected committee mascot? haha!

The longest races of the weekend were to take place next, allowing the distance group to showcase their talents out on the track. In the 3000m men’s race Adam Thorpe ran a great time of 8:54.49s. In the 3000m, Kiri won her heat and ran the fastest time qualifying for the final of the 3000m in 10:06.76s.

Bernice jumped well in the preliminary rounds qualifying for the final of the women’s high jump with a height of 1.63m.

To end the day, we had the men’s and women’s 4x200m relays. First up were the men with strong runs from each member of the team, James, Matt, Makun and George finishing in a time of 1:34.86s. The ladies representing women’s team were Jess, Amelia, Sammy and Becca completing the race in a time of 1:40.11s, narrowly missing out on the final by one place but they ran a new Nottingham record!

The day ended in pizza express and most people were exhausted. Despite this some of the team found the energy to play Irish snap and watch a great film, Moana in the evening.

It was time for the final day of the BUCS championships. We hoped to finish the weekend as we started. The day began with Beth and Donelle in the final of the women’s triple jump. Again, they both produced strong performances, Donelle jumping 10.85m and Beth jumping 11.22m.

Next it was time for the 200m heats, with Matt and James running for the men and Hayley and Becca representing the women. Becca ran the 200m in a time of 26.67s very close to her personal best set earlier this season. Hayley once again finished her race a good distance ahead of the others easing over the line in 24.28s qualifying for the semis. James produced a fantastic performance taking over 1 second off of his previous personal best completing the race in a time of 23.08s, just missing out on qualifying for the semis by 0.02s. Next up was Matt whose form looked strong for the duration of the race completing it in a time of 24.22s.

Jess ran a good race in the semis of the 400m, finishing in a time of 60.43s.

Hayley was next on the track for Notts and won her semi final in a time of 24.28s equally her heat time. She makes it look so easy!

Kiri placed 6th in the final of the women’s 3000m, improving her time from the heats to 9:58.82 in the final.

Joe was up next in the men’s ambulant long jump jumping a great 3.42m, just shy of his personal best of 3.46m.

Bernice competed in the women’s high jump final clearing a height of 1.66m finishing in an amazing 7th place overall!

To end the weekend, Hayley was running in the 200m final. Hayley led from within the first few strides to the finish running a new championship record time of 23.49s, taking the gold medal once again!

It was finally time to head back to Nottingham for a well earned rest!

All in all it was a great weekend, coming home with two BUCS gold Medals (well done Hayley) and plenty of personal bests and a stronger team spirit than ever. Thank you to everyone who participated over the weekend and a special thanks to the University of Nottingham’s sport team who looked after us with food and physio over the weekend!

The team spirit over the weekend was great and thanks to everyone who helped organise and supported us at the weekend! Lets gets preparing for Outdoors!


BUCS XC 2019!

UoNAC kicked off the biggest weekend of the year with a long bus journey to Exeter – what better way to prepare for a race than 5 hours in a confined space with your team-mates and a megaphone? Despite horror stories of snow on the roads in South West England, the team made it to Exeter city centre and prepared to wage (muddy) war against the universities of the UK. Bright and early Saturday morning, coach driver Kevin led us down some questionable country lanes to the esteemed, venerated and well respected race venue of… Bicton College, Budleigh Salterton. A quick course walk and a not-so-quick queue for the 5 portaloos (?!) and it was almost time to race.

A surprisingly warm and sunny day produced perfect racing conditions, and as 700 women lined up at 12 o clock, the anticipation was palpable. Cross-Country Captain Kiri Marsh led the way as a sea of green and gold streamed over the start line, face paint and mud mixing together as the women began their 6 kilometre course. Kiri maintained her lead for UoN, storming into 46th place. Just under a minute later, Hannah Novakoviccrossed the line in an impressive 74th, with Jess Robinson rounding off the scoring team in 90th. For this fantastic feat, Jess earned herself “women’s race of the day!” Becky Berger-North and Martha Coyle crossed the line with just 2 seconds between them! Martha’s detour into the water feature cost her a few seconds, but what she lost in time she gained in kudos, and in her own words “it was definitely worth it!” Returning from injury and once again demonstrating her prowess, Chloe Bird crossed the line just seconds later, with Georgia White and Claire Read battling up the final hill to finish in the top 160 runners! Ellie Armstrong followed close behind, her return from injury exciting everyone. Lucy Brett, Anna Vinnicombe, Tabi Morison, Jess Harbert and Alice Hughes worked extremely well to finish in the top 400 runners of a strong women’s field. Sally Rose, Letitia McMullan, Daisy Slater and Heather Lambert finished within a minute of each other, working well together to get up those tough hills to the finish. Ruby McMillan and Jana Michel joined forces to cross the line within 0.4 seconds of each other, with Caitlin Masterson, Ella Morgan and Michelle Ruas not far behind. The women’s team was rounded off by María Ángeles Jiménez Sigstad, Tifany Dubois and Michelly Cristina Silva, who each had exceptional races and completed their first BUCS in #greenandgold! The Women’s A Team (Kiri, Hannah and Jess) finished an impressive 22nd out of 189 teams, so a big well done to them and to everyone who competed.

Following the excitement of the women’s race, the men’s A team joined some famous faces for the men’s long race (10km). The gruelling three lap course was designed test the team, but following a photo finish from 1st and 2nd place Emile Cairess and Patrick Dever who were separated by just 0.1 seconds, the UoN boys showed us what they’re made of. The first finisher from the men’s A team, and possibly the best performance of the day, UK U20 top ten 10k runner Thomas Trimble was first over the line in 53rd, improving on his performance last year despite a recent injury. He was followed just 15 seconds later by Vice-President Sam Stevens in 62nd. George Wheeler and Dylan Stanway (an A team debutant and another candidate for “race of the day”) rounded off the scoring team in 81st and 85th, giving Nottingham University A Team an extremely impressive final position of 11th out of 50. Adam Thorpe returned from injury to cruise into 108th, whilst Jack Allison ran extremely well in his first BUCS A race after a late call up to the team to finish 201st out of over 300 athletes. Well done lads!

The final race of the day was the men’s B race, over a slightly shorter but no less gruelling 8km. With 24 UoN athletes entered, this was not a race to be missed. A naked runner (unnamed) started off the race, whilst the rest of the athletes (clothes firmly on!) swarmed over the start line. As spectators flocked to the water feature, Nathan Gibson led the way for UoN, with a truly impressive, finish of 82nd place – a 155 place improvement on last year! Owen Thomas followed close behind in 101st, with Sam Broomhead and Daniel Cresswell crossing the line within three seconds of each other to finish 131st and 133rd respectively. Ewan McLachlan returned from Scotland to finish 154th, a 62 place improvement on last year. Matteo Gala, Charles Barry and Sean Tarrant finished within 10 seconds of each other, each producing an incredible performance. Charles actually overtook 113 people on his final lap to finish 234th and earn himself the “men’s B race of the day” award! Zach Jennings, Saul Westbrook, Joe Bryan, Oli Dighton and Harry Buchanan finished in the next minute, crossing the line in a wave of green and gold. Ryan Gangloff, Jody Meredith and William Angwin were next to battle through the final hills to the finish, Jody’s pink headband ensuring everyone could see him (But was this really Jody? Where was Bruce…? #conspiracy). Toby Cripps was another athlete from UoN who was game enough to attempt the “water feature” – a real crowd pleaser and an impressive first BUCS. George Leete didn’t let a week long drug trial and a pesky injury stop him from racing (or drinking!). Adam Huckerby, Jacob Hodge and Lee Taylor rounded off the men’s team, with a 37 place improvement on last year for Mr. Lee Taylor! Honourable mentions to Adam Houchell, Chris Fielding, Zili Shen and Nicola Ravenhill who battled round as much of the course as they could before lending their voices to the cheering masses as our athletes crossed the line. The men’s B race A Team (Nathan, Owen and Sam B) finished an impressive 26th out of 106 teams – well done lads! A shout out to Amy Chalmers, Franki Salter, Zoe Langham, Calum Duck and Cam Bell for making the trip to all the way to Exeter to support the team despite not racing due to injury and to El Presidente Makun Madar who, despite the race being 15 – 25x his normal distance, still came down to support! Great racing by everyone – hope you all enjoyed BUCS 2019 – train hard as there still many races to come. Looking forward to a track and road season full of PBs!

Ed Prickett Race Report 2017

Ed Prickett Memorial Relays 2017


The 13th annual Ed Prickett Memorial Relay took place on Saturday the 18th of March at the University of Nottingham. The University of Nottingham Athletics Club (UoNAC) hosts the event every year in memory of former UoNAC athlete Ed Prickett, who was sadly killed in a road traffic accident whilst at the British Universities Track Championships. Half the proceeds from the event are donated to the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund (RPMF) – a charity Ed Prickett benefitted from – and despite soggy conditions, with impressive 165 runners turned up to support the cause.


We had teams travel from all over the country with university clubs which included Birmingham, Loughborough, Keele, coupled with many running clubs attending, Sheffield Running Club, Reigate Priory AC, Notfast AC, Pierrepont AC, Beeston AC, The Running Wilbury’s, Crawley AC, Mansfield Harriers, IMS and Mixed Teams, and our Alumni teams who supported us. All runners steadfastly started off in their respective teams undeterred by the soggy weather conditions, holding their pace throughout to produce some cracking times.


Birmingham A team won the men’s race (4 legs), finishing in an impressive 45:39. This was followed by Loughborough A team and Keele A team who ran equally impressive totals of 47:25 and 48:03 respectively. The Nottingham A team narrowly missed out on first place in this year’s women’s race (3 legs) with a total of 43:04, just 6 seconds behind Loughborough A team who once again won with a fantastic total of 42:58. In third place, we had Nottingham C team, who finished the course in 47:33. Team Mungai came first in the inter-mural sport (IMS) category with a time of 61:08, and in the mixed team category, we had Stuart’s Dream Team who finished in 59:15.


Unfortunately, the already tough course was altered once again this year due to construction around Highfields Park at University Park Campus, bringing the distance up to a gruelling 2:37 miles. The racing had a longer run along University Boulevard, moving on to the gruelling Portland Hill followed by the trepidation of striding up the Keighton Hill and this was not without some punchy steps taken, before embarking on the sprint finish on the Downs, however, were kept as a traditional part of the relays.


With all the teams, having run brilliant times all round, the individuals to run the fastest legs were Jonny Davies of Birmingham A team who finished in 11:05. Our very own Chloe Bird of Nottingham AC women’s X team who finished with an impressive performance of 14:08 time.  Shortly followed with a fastmoving performance from Hannah Novakovic in women’s Y team with a time of 14:23 and speedy stepping behind in the women’s Z team, Megan Gildea who performed a time of 14:33.


The next remarkable run took place with the Nottingham AC C men’s team, Tom McGuinness who performed an outstanding time of 11:19.  In the men’s, A team, our own running legend, Jack Millar performed an amazing time of 11:39 and tailing next in the men’s AC B team, speedy Adam Houchell grabbing an impressive time of 12:25.  Shortly followed by another group of fast paced men, who held no punches, to dazzle on the running circuit: Rob Middlewick: 12:55, Bruce Beckett: 12:56, Jack Alison: 13:00, Will Morris: 13:03, and Dan Leng: 13:04, delivered a solid performance for their respective teams.


Overall, on the university platform, the University of Nottingham AC men and women teams did not disappoint or let the wet and muggy weather conditions hold them back by navigating themselves through the race route, with steam coming off their running shoes before hitting a penultimate finish.  Despite this, very impressive, performances produced across the board.


Mr Prickett presenting the Ed Prickett trophy to Jonny Davies for winning the first position

johnny davies ed p



Allan Wilson and Rea Steinberger, Home Fixtures, pictured with Mr and Mrs Prickett.rea allan ed p


A massive thank you to the numerous people who helped organise the event, making this an amazing and successful event, especially to Mr and Mrs Prickett for supplying us with the medals awarded to the fastest male and female. Thank you also to everyone else for attending despite it coming down in buckets all day! Next years Ed Prickett Relays will be organised by a new “Home Fixtures team” Kelvin Leong and Chris Fielding, we wish good luck and every success to them both for an enjoyable relay race day in 2018.


We hope everyone had a wonderful day.


Allan and Rea

Home Fixtures


Long Eaton Parkrun


Long Eaton Parkrun

Known to be a flat and fast 5k, the Long Eaton Parkrun was added to our race schedule at the start of this term. A large contingent of 20 University of Nottingham athletes attended this inaugural fixture and with over 10 PB’s the event was a big success.

Having led from the front Jack Millar stormed around the course in a time of 15.37. Although this time didn’t qualify Jack for the BUCS 5k, it was another impressive performance for our president who had been aptly paced by Aki Kitagawa for the first few kilometres. Tom McGuinness also had a strong run and followed just 20 seconds behind in second place.

With our first two athletes, comfortably up the road it was left to Daniel Leng to round up the top three University athletes. Despite claiming he had finished in under 17 minutes on Strava, the Parkrun results dubiously suggested otherwise and Daniel was left with a time of 17 minutes’ dead and a new 5k PB! Chris Fielding then added to this list of official 5k PB’s by finishing 10th in a time of 17.40. This time is made all the more impressive given that Chris was taken out by a dog during the parkrun. The tide of PB’s continued to arrive with Callum Duck’s storming performance which saw him finish just under 18 minutes in a time of 17.57. Daniel Nash backed this up with another PB of 18.35, which is almost 2 minutes quicker than his previous PB!

Next up were our vice president elect and president elect battling it out to be first lady to cross the line. Megan Gildea went past Katie Buckingham to finish in a time of 19.17 although Katie was only three seconds behind! This also meant that there were another two PB’s and that the PB tidal surge was now turning into a PB tsunami.

Having not done a race over 1500m for four years, Makun Madar finished as the first track and field athlete in a time of 19.29. This was yet another PB and Makun was closely followed by Kelvin Leong in a time of 19.38. Needless to say, this was yet another very impressive personal best. Next up, Lottie Richardson just missed out on a sub 20 minute 5k in a time of 20.01. This was Lottie’s quickest time ever and means she has knocked off 4 minutes from her 5k time at the start of the university year! Vincent Ly also just missed out on a sub 20 5k, having been effectively paced around by Adam Thorpe up until the 3k point and PB’d in a time of 20.07. Beth Neal followed Vincent but was just short of her own personal best of 19.58, finishing in a time of 20.16. Only two seconds behind, a hugely improved Michael Gaynor did manage to PB and stopped his clock at 20.18. Sam Towell and Harry Ellis also completed the course in personal record times of 20.26 and 20.39. Allan Wilson also managed to sneak under 21 minutes in a time of 20.50 and was the 14th athlete of the day to run a personal best.

Emily Starman and Dayanah Ahmad rounded up a memorable morning by finishing in 24.04 and 25.12 respectively. This was Dayanah’s fastest 5k and Emily only just missed out on finishing in the top 100! With 14/17 finishers running their own PB’s that means that there was an 82.3% PB rate which is double what the British Milers Club claims to achieve at their races. Thanks to everyone that came for what felt like a very worthwhile morning. We may even do it all over again next term!

*BUCS XC Race Report* 4th Feb 2017

After many months of ‘building’, the day had finally arrived. An enormous 59 of us travelled to Sheffield for the British University Cross Country Championships in Graves Park and what a course they had in store for us. Hills, hay bales and plenty of mud were the order of the day for the 1991 competitors. After a final pep talk from Coach Lisgo, with the key message to ‘not get drawn in’ being deeply emphasised we watched on as the Men’s A race burst into life.
Following a superb run out in Spain prior to the event, an aspirational Sam Stevens positioned himself at the head of the pack with Adam Houchell sitting on his shoulder. The downhill start meant a vicious pace over the first kilometre but when the gradient reversed we began to see packs begin to form. The top 10 containing Sam forged a small gap to the rest of the field, but not far behind Jack Millar and Tom McGuinness had grouped up with Adam. The punishing course began to take its toll with athletes continually shifting positions based on how well they had paced their effort. Aki the master of this art continued to sift his way through the field picking up well over 50 places to draw level with Jack and they ploughed on together, neither willing to accept one was better than the other in what was their first race together. The vehement competition between one another made for an exhilarating watch, with Millar’s face etched with grit, pain and determination and Aki’s pure focus. These two were not without challenge though as Tom reeled them in on every hill, showing his prowess from his fell running days. Nathan too had provided a strong run, forcing his way up towards Adam, setting the stage for many epic final lap battles. It was hard to judge just how well our team was doing overall, but it looked like we might just get our four scorers home within 60.
Thanks to some of the greatest support our athletes have ever received they continued their assault on the final lap of the course. Was it still too early to consider that BUCS points were realistic? Tom tenaciously battled through to pick up some crucial final positions. Stevens 15th, Kitagawa 34th, Millar 43rd, McGuinness 50th; was it enough? Either way, with all 6 athletes coming home in around the first hundred athletes it would be without a doubt one of the greatest performances from a Nottingham team in many a year…

The women’s race had reason to keep you on the edge of your seat too. In what was the largest race of the day it was always going to be quite a spectacle and with our girls covered in war paint they were ready for the challenge. Yet again we had a strong team and with no set A team runners in the women’s event anybody could step it up on the day to score for the team. Hannah Novakovic looked serene as she set the early pace for our team, closely followed by Kiri Marsh and Alice Reed. The first lap was a logjam with no athletes able to make any real inroads on those ahead, but as the hills started coming thick and fast we saw some movement.
After a fierce fight at Wollaton, Amber Reed and Megan Gildea looked set for a repeat with neither gaining any real advantage over the opening kilometres. Megan gradually distanced herself as the race went with on, showing her recent consistency. The biggest surprise came from behind though with Charlotte Richardson running incredibly strongly. Seemingly thriving in this previously unfamiliar territory she continued climbing through the field, setting up for her best performance of the season. The terrain provided a stern test for the athletes as conditions worsened throughout the race but our eventual scorers packed well with Alice pacing her effort best to come home in 80th, closely followed by Hannah in 87th and Kiri in 91st, all finishing within 20 seconds of each other. A very strong showing from a team plagued with injuries, but showing off the depth of our team extremely well. It was nice to see some true green and gold spirit too as Kate Backhouse, Issie Forrest and debutant Michelle Ruas crossed the line arm in arm.

The Men’s B race epitomised what BUCS cross country is about, with war cries and mocking chants from all teams, it was more like a battlefield than a start line. The eruption of noise as the gun went was enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine. Similar to the women’s race there was a bottleneck at the first corner, so getting a swift start was vital and our lads all seemed to get away reasonably well. Having continually delivered on the university circuit this year, Dylan Stanway stuck on Adam Thorpe’s shoulder for the first lap, eventually settling back with Rob Middlewick who was in a rich vein of form, despite injury. The pace was strong even with the deterioration of the course and most people managed to successfully negotiate a particularly muddy ditch, with just one or two exceptions…
After such a big lead up to the event, none of the athletes wanted to be beaten by their teammates and from the many rivalries that are ridden throughout the team, Dan Leng, Bruce Beckett and Lewis Fagge were in a tight contest of their own. Come the finish Dan Leng narrowly maintained his lead to beat Bruce by just one place in 147th and 148th respectively. Fortunate really, as it meant no trees came to harm post-race. The hay bales proved a welcome addition to the course too, giving something to look forward to each lap, especially for the likes of steeplechaser Dan Cresswell. Starting more aggressively than we’ve seen before Ewan McLachlan targeted Chris Fielding and was rewarded with a noticeable improvement on Wollaton and one of his best runs to date. Overall the team performed supremely, finishing much higher than last year with Adam 53rd, Rob 96th, Dylan 103nd and Will Morris 107th.

After a painful wait and watching Jack Millar constantly trying to work out whereabouts we might have come, the scores finally came through. Our men’s team had come 5th! BUCS points! A terrific and immensely relieving result and a true showing of what Nottingham Athletics Club has really become. This just topped off a cracking weekend with such tremendous success thanks to all our athletes putting on a fine display. To celebrate everyone’s endeavours we had a lovely squad meal, followed by a night out in Sheffield. It was a pleasure to be a part of such a fantastic team and to have made such a good trip of the championships. It really wouldn’t have been the same without you all! Can’t wait till next year now… How long till then again?
XC Love – Adam & Dan

North Midlands Cross Country League: Fixture 4 Wollaton Park: 14th January


With BUCS Cross Country looming large the final instalment of the North Midlands Cross Country League was always going to provide for an interesting watch. This race provided the final measure of performance for all athletes wanting to run in the famous green & gold vests before the biggest university race of the year.

In good conditions, six University of Nottingham athletes lined up for the start of the women’s race. Having finished as the second University of Nottingham athlete at the Derby and Kettering races, Amber Reed looked to go one better by leading the University home on a familiar course. However, Megan Gildea provided another improved run and both athletes were neck and neck going into the final one hundred meters. In a Korir-esque sprint (

) Megan strode ahead of Amber to finish 18th in a time of 24.28 whilst Amber finished three seconds behind in 20th place. Outside of the individual battles, Hannah Fleet rounded up the women’s team performance by finishing 30th in a time of 25.40. This meant that the women’s team finished a notable 4th for the Wollaton Park fixture.

However, the impressive performances didn’t end there. Charlotte Richardson finished 38 places higher than she did in the first North Midlands fixture in a time of 25.52 (37th). Hayley Mills, in her first North Midlands race, just missed out on a top 50 finish finishing 53rd in a time of 26.44. Fiona Starkie rounded off a good race by finishing 61st in a time of 27.14.

With the women’s race wrapped up, the 16 Nottingham University athletes amassed at the starting line for the men’s race. However, for this race there was an added dynamic. Three places were available for the Universities ‘A’ team at BUCS Cross Country. As it turned out, some athletes thrived and others took a distinct nose dive in the face of this opportunity.

With most athletes getting involved in a borderline sprint for the first 400 meters, Aki Kitagawa ran a controlled race pulling past the initial front runner Adam Houchell. In fact, despite being outside the top 20 for the first half a mile Aki pulled his way through the field to finish 3rd in a time of 34.54. A textbook run meant that the Aki effectively guaranteed his spot in the men’s ‘A’ race for BUCS Cross Country. Having headed the University runners for the first mile or so, Adam Houchell also held up well and whilst he couldn’t hold onto Aki, he stayed well clear of the rest of his teammates. Adam finished 12th in a time of 36.33 and now looks good for the BUCS A race. Finally, first year runner Nathan Gibson managed to finish as the third-place University runner with a time of 37.04 (18th) which puts him in pole position to take that final spot in the BUCS ‘A’ race.

Of the other performances that stood out, Robert Middlewick provided yet another impressive performance to finish 32nd in a time of 37.58. Rounding up the impressive second place team finish for the Universities men’s team Will Morris finished 41st in a time of 38.18. Bruce Beckett (46th), George Russell (60th), Daniel Cresswell (63rd),Sam Broomhead and Will Bloomer (94th) all also provided outstanding runs in a good field to finish top one hundred. Conor Vale (129th), Ewan McLachlan (131st), Allan Wilson (195th) and Michael Gaynor (222) capped off a good season of North Midlands races.

And yes, there were sixteen athletes who started the race not fourteen. Unfortunately, Adam Thorpe who had been going toe to toe with Nathan for the third spot in the BUCS ‘A’ race was unfortunate to roll his ankle going into the final kilometre. This forced him to drop out. I also dropped out.

Our final finish to the North Midlands Cross Country season was a good one and added another podium finish to the first two provided by Jack Millar at the Derby and Kettering races. Things are looking good for BUCS Cross Country in two weeks’ time!