AFD Double at SEAA Road Relays
Aldershot, Farnham & District’s runners were unaffected by the loss of Rushmoor Arena for the South of England’s road relays, winning both senior races by huge margins, providing the first two teams to finish the under-13 boys’ event and Lucy Pygott displaying the best smile of the day as she anchored her trio to victory at the new venue in Bedford.
Pygott, who claimed a bronze medal over 3000 metres at the European Youth Championships in July, was second fastest overall in the u17 women’s competition. She had been handed the lead by Eugenie Cockle, who had taken over from Tilly Horton in fourth, and finished more than a minute ahead of silver medallists Basingstoke & Mid Hants.
The senior women won the four-stage title by more than three minutes. On the first leg, AFD’s Philippa Bowden was closest to Jess Judd, junior runner-up at the European cross country champs two seasons ago. The Chelmsford athlete’s time was subsequently beaten only by Emily Hosker-Thornhill who passed Judd’s sister Jodie during the second leg for a lead that AFD were not to lose with Georgie Bruinvels and Tasha Vernon.
Vernon’s husband Andy anchored AFD to a victory of nearly two minutes. He recorded the quickest time of the senior men’s six-stage championship, following laps by Josh Grace (joint-second fastest when leading the opener), Matt Arnold, Jack Rowe, Ellis Cross and Steve Connor.
The quartet of Ed Henderson, Theo Cheshire, Ollie Pickup and Sam Bodoano eventually prevailed over that of Alfie Spear, Bailey Roberts, Harry Hyde and Ryan Martin in their u13s’ battle. Hyde had put his side ahead at the final changeover by clocking the event’s second quickest time. The second team was denied medals by the rule of only one set per club in each race.
There was a set of silver medals for AFD’s u15 boys. Theo Doran, Josh Genco-Russo, Luke van Oudtshoorn and Dan Howells finished eleven seconds behind Cambridge & Coleridge. Van Oudtshoorn, the English Schools junior champion at 1500 metres, was fastest overall.