Edinburgh Braids Hill XC Race Report – 2011

I would like to start this edition of LUUCCC race report with a response to a question that was left unanswered in the previous edition. It has now been officially confirmed that the soreness in Alex Bellews bum from the Yorkshire fell championships was actually from the race, not from any other reason.

This weekend proved to be a successful one, in what has proved to be a fruitful season so far for LUUCCC. A sunny saturday afternoon marked the Braids Hill fell race in Edinburgh which consisted of a 3 mile loop which involved running up to a summit via testing climbs and then back down the other side of the hill in a series of tricky descents. The women’s race was to complete one of these laps while the men’s was to complete two.

The women’s race started at 2.00 sharp with some great talent from the Doss on show. The race was won by Clare Ward of Edinburgh University in a stunning 18 minutes 34 seconds however Edinburgh weren’t going to have it all there own way with Dosser Emma Raven close behind in 3rd (18.53). Mary Ferrier also impressed in her first race of the year to finish a great 17th (20.12). Caroline Ford also demonstrated her form with a great follow up from her heroics in the Manchester relays finishing 29th (20.55). Next to count was Rebecca Jameson (22.09), followed by Lucy Gemmel 58th (23.04). Coincidentally Gemmel had many highlights this weekend including taking a pedalo (yes you heard correctly, a pedalo) with men’s race captain Elliot Jackson, and also going slightly mental in Starbucks after sighting someone from ‘Made in Chelsea’. There was also a highly intense battle for 62nd spot between Frances Carney and Amicia Lee who came in 62nd and 63rdrespectively. During the race many spectators thought Lee would win the fight as Carney looked tired from the excess weight of carrying her passport. The team was made up by Fiona Wiles who finished in 67th (24.14), Jessica White 71st (24.34), Hannah Gornall 189th (24.40), Beth Ferrier 81st (25.05) just ahead of Laura Severinsen 82nd (25.06) and Beth Martin 99th (27.49)

The men’s race commenced at 2.30, with high expectations on the Doss after some stunning individual performances this year so far including Freddie Slemeck’s international debut in Slovenia (Yes that’s correct he did actually run for England, those shorts aren’t just stolen from a regular international), with 4 people to count per team. The race up to the summit for the first time showed some stunning ascending from Elliot Jackson and Matt Lockyer who both leading the race closely followed by Slemeck (in his signature shorts) and Alex Bellew. The overall winner was Niall Sheehan of Lasswade AC with 32 minutes 35 seconds, with the main challenge from the Doss coming from Alex Bellew in 4th (33.35). Allegedly Bellew only ran faster so he could get in the showers straight away and hence would have to wait less time to strip off, one of Bellews favourite pastimes. Next from Doss was Freddie Slemeck in 5th a solid 23 seconds behind Bellew with a run in which he said “I couldn’t have done any more” which involoved a superb sprint finish at the end. The team was made up by Matt Lockyer who gave another usefull run in 13th (34.31) despite massive wind resistance on his newly formed facial hair and Elliot Jackson who’s self confessed lack of endurance caused him to fade to finish 18th (35.35). This caused the team to finish a brilliant 2nd place overall just behind Edinburgh University. There was also great runs from James Raven in 22nd (35.53), man-mountain Jack Wood in 27th (36.22) who was my individual athlete of the weekend, and Luke Buswell in 42nd (37.04) who expertly disguised the fact he was on steroids by running a little bit slower than normal. Tom Heawood finished a respectable 58th (38.06), whilst listening to remixes of Jingle Bells and the Mariah Carey classic “All I want for Christmas is you” in-between getting into fights and losing piercings from his ear. Other runs worth a mention were Dave Burtles 78th (39.34), , Alex Jeffreys 102nd (41.05) who closely contested with Shane Adams who came 107th (41.16), John Derrick 139th (43.00), Thomas Canaway in 180th (46.52) and Adam Kirk 203rd (53.03). Despite their being several bets on Tom Powell to reach the summit first he unfortunately ran like a little girl due to injury and had to drop out. His luck however improved throughout the day as he impressed on the dance floor when Flo Riders “Low” was played. He was also saved from being Dick of the day by Rowan Temple who unbelievably dropped out and actually brought his passport on the same day – what a dick/day!

It is also worth noting that if an athlete would have finished in the same time it takes Rob Johnson to down a pint they would have finished in 82nd place in a time of 40 minutes 15 seconds.
When asked to comment about the race Men’s race captain Elliot Jackson had to say “people whose surname is Toblerone should always take along an empty ‘Toblerone’ chocolate box when attending interviews for office jobs. This would save your potential employer the expense of having to make a name plaque for your desk, and therefore increase your chances of getting the job”. It his highly advised that freshers take note of this advice if they wish to progress as an athlete.

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