OS Cross-country

Sunday 13 June 2021, the hottest day of the year by far at 25°C, found 10 intrepid OS runners willing to sweat it out in the annual fixture, delayed by the pandemic from our traditional date in March. We were assigned a course which skirted the estate on the far side of the ha-ha, perhaps to distance ourselves from the National Trust visitors.

Three Stoics triumphed with Harry Rose (Lower Sixth, Bruce) winning in 23:34. First OS was Isabella Cornwall (Nugent 15) in 27:38, clearly a very useful addition to our team. Richard Lloyd (Grenville 94) and Simon Ridley (Walpole 95) were not far behind in mid 27s, then Nigel Downing (Lyttelton 69) 28:54, Charlie Clare (Chatham 94) 30:54 and Richard Montgomery (Chandos 79) 31:15, were ahead of the final Stoic. Chris Hutber (Chandos 87), Amy Jorgensen (Nugent 17) – great to have another recent leaver – Marc Hope (Cobham 79) and Richard Weston (Chatham 65) completed the team.

Despite the heat and the unseasonal date, everybody enjoyed the run with, for some, the approach road from the Boycotts to the Corinthian Arch through Copper Bottom bringing back memories of the original school five-mile course.

The result, if that’s important, was a victory for the School, scoring 4-a-side, with 17 points to 22. However, with only four Stoics the permutation for the Old Stoics to win is adding one to the total number of runners as a penalty, giving an OS five-a-side win of 30 to 32. You can prove anything with statistics!

In December, we competed in the Thames Hare & Hounds Alumni race, for alumni of invited schools. On the last weekend before Christmas it involves five miles of a hilly and muddy Wimbledon Common course. We struggled this year with only two ladies and two men. Nevertheless, brilliant runs by Kate Winter (nee Chambré, Lyttelton 97) 41:06 and Hannah Durden (Nugent 01) 43:05, gave the Open Ladies‘ team joint third place. Hannah enthusiastically relates that her careful pace judgment enabled her, when overtaken by another lady running at a “ferocious pace”, to retake her place in the final mile. The week prior to the race Hannah, Piers Craven (Bruce 01) and his wife took part in The Maverick series night run; 11km around the Oxfordshire Chilterns.

The two men were Simon Ridley (Walpole 95) with a tremendous run into 134th place with 40:08 and ever-present Richard Weston, aiming for 80 minutes and self-timed at 79:56 (pretty accurate pace judgment!) having started early to avoid keeping the marshals on post.

A date for your diary: Sunday 20 March 2022 for the race at Stowe. This will be billed as Richard Weston’s 50th running of the event. Among options to mark the occasion is a walk for Old Stoic runners and athletes, particularly of the 60s era when we first restarted OS cross country as Donaldson’s VIII in honour of our inspirational coach. Further details will follow.

Richard Weston (Chatham 65)