The University of Sussex hosted this year’s BUCS Cross Country at Stanmer Park in Brighton. Jonny Hay of the University of Birmingham took the men’s title while Emelia Gorecka of Royal Holloway won the women’s race.
The men’s A race was an intriguing 12km affair over the undulating woodland at Stanmer Park. A high quality field was eventually whittled down to just four men; Jonny Hay, Jonathan Davies, Callum Hawkins and Richard Goodman.
Despite efforts from Davies to surge away during the closing lap, Hay and Hawkins managed to stick with him as Goodman faded. It was Davies though who led as the three medallists hurtled down the final hill to turn into the finishing straight. A tumble from Davies at this point allowed Hay to capitalise and kick away to take the victory; Davies regained his composure to take the silver medal and make it a University of Birmingham 1-2. Birmingham also took the team gold medal with Tom Jervis and Edward Shepherd making up the four man team.
The women’s race was not so close cut; Royal Holloway’s Emelia Gorecka developed a commanding lead over the field and comfortably reclaimed the title she won in Leeds in 2013. Two St Marys athletes occupied the remaining medals with Sarah Astin second and Amy Griffiths third. In the team event it was the University of Birmingham once again who packed strongly with Straw (4th), Murray (7th), Mccormick (12th) and Burgin (18th) taking gold.
The Men’s B race was the final race of the day and it was St Marys who completely dominated, demonstrating their strength in depth. Ryan Driscoll led the St Marys charge and had a sizeable lead going into the last lap but teammate Scott Halstead slowly closed the gap and eventually overhauled Driscoll to take victory. Driscoll hung on for Silver and Jack Rowe took bronze. St Marys hogged the team medals, taking gold, silver and bronze for a clean sweep; unsurprising given they had 7 runners in the top 10.
A great day of cross country action was, as ever, enhanced by the passionate and raucous support, continuing to justify the hype that surrounds the event. Congratulations to the University of Sussex who hosted the event and offered a challenging course which was a true test of cross country running.