There was a record 5,283 runners turning the notoriously muddy Parliament Hill into an even bigger quagmire for the National Cross Country Championships on Saturday.
More than 2,000 squelched up hill and down dale in the senior men’s race – and mixing it with the best were 36 Ealing Southall & Middlesex AC athletes toeing the line in various races.
The stand-out performance from those in green and yellow vests came from Erica Wallace in the U17 women’s race.
Her strong finish picked off runner after runner to finish 31st out of 235.
Sam Ashcroft led ESM men home over the gruelling 12k course, after missing most of the season with injury.
Samir Haddad was next to show, performing well in only his second cross country race, while Steve Elson put in a consistent run to cross the line just a couple of minutes behind. The next three ESM men traded places in the course of the race. Rob Brown got the nod over Tom Yates, though both were given the same time.
Andy Dodd led both of them in the early stages but trailed by half a minute as he grabbed the final scoring place in the six-to-score team competition.
Seven veterans followed Andy in ESM colours. The men finished 63rd out of the 145 teams – even with members absent for the assault in north London.
Mukhtar Farah was just inside the top half of the field in the U17 race, while Conor McCarthy got the better of Rainak Mainali.
Club stalwart George Kerry led the club’s U15 boys home just outside the top third of the field.
Defying a recent back injury, Grazina Narviliene ran a characteristically strong second half in the senior women’s race, overhauling team-mate Fiona Kennedy in the last mile
There were two club members in the U17 women’s race. Erica Wallace finished 31st out of 235,
The U15 girls had runners to spare, with six taking part. In a competitive race, Nicola Ravenhill (127th) just held off team-mate Laura Stewart (129th) as around a dozen girls crossed the line in the space of two seconds.
Three U13 girls ran for the club. Lucy O’Brien finished 274th in the field of 433, but can point to the lost shoe in the glutinous mud that impeded her progress in the latter stages.
Results, National Cross Country Championships, ESM runners only:
SM (12k): 262, 46:14 Sam Ashcroft; 375, 47:52 Samir Haddad; 565 50:02 Stephen Elson; 979, 54:25 Robert Brown; 980, 54:25; Tom Yates: 1028, 55:01; Andrew Dodd, 1155, 56:25; James Steel; 1349, 58:45; Ian Leslie; 1522 1:01:29 Steve Plested; 1664 1:04:01 Eamon Bradley, 1824, 1:07:56; James O'Neill, 1910, 1:13:22; Philip York, 1928, 1:15:04; U17M (6k): Mukhtar Farah, 245, 27:04; Conor McCarthy, 250, 27:23; Raunak Mainali; U15B (4.5k): 132, 18:18 George Kerry; 226, 19:03 Naoki Kanai; 239, 19:14 Luke Adar; U13B (3k): 390, 18:22 Kirk Lebdiri; 394 20:49 Michael Kouwiloyan; SW (8k): 153, 37:04 Grazina Narviliene; 160, 37:18 Fiona Kennedy; 298, 40:29 Nikki Shelley; 749, 53:06; Julia Gristwood; U17W: 31, 21:09 Erica Wallace; 220, 28:52 Jennifer Connelly; U15G (4k): 127, 17:55 Nicola Ravenhill; 129, 17:56 Laura Stewart; 285 20:13 Cameron Thomas; 322, 21:00 Maryam Hussain; 358, 22:31 Roisin Lynch; 373, 24:19 Leah Kelly; U13G (3k): 274 15:37 Lucy O'Brien; 285 15:45 Anisa Ibrahim; 421 18:43 Sarah Freegard