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The third Surrey cross-country league match of the season took place on Saturday 13th January at Oxshott woods. The lead hosts were Elmbridge with Walton and Chessington community runners co-hosting. The even was a huge success and thank you to everyone who helped marshal on a tricky course. Over 70 volunteers helped on the day, a wonderful effort from the three clubs.

As I have mentioned, the course was quite technical, with lots of twists and turns, tree roots and even a fallen tree to hurdle. I am sure you’ll agree that it was a very good course.

First off at noon was the men’s division 3 and 4 race. A depleted Walton team lined up with a strong sense of determination, knowing victory would almost certainly ensure promotion next season. Craig Jarman took advantage with a measured start and strong finish to take a superb victory, adding to his two 3rd place finishes so far this season and putting himself well in contention for the individual division 3 title, congratulations Craig. Jani Kraner also improved on his previous two races by finishing 3rd with Robert Smith just over a minute behind in 6th place. Walton now have 3 of the top 5 places in the men’s individual rankings for the entire season, with Craig 2nd, Jani 3rd and Robert 5th. Jani is also ranked 1st V40/45 across the season.

A cracking run by Jonathan Hiorns meant he was 4th Walton athlete across the line in 17th place overall, and not far behind was Clinton de Tarnowski in 26th overall and 4th V40/45, well done both. Clinton is also ranked 3rd V40/45 across the season.

Alfie Pike was our 6th scorer, finishing in 35th and 1st U20. Another strong run from Alfie, who is going from strength to strength. Packing very closely together were Chris Ness (48th and 7th V50), Ben Harling (50th), and Greg Havard (51st). Chris is also ranked 4th V50 across the season. Excellent runs from you all, well done. Our 10th scorer was none other than super coach Jamie McLoughlin with a gutsy run off barely any training to finish 80th overall, great job Jamie. Less than a minute later, Oliver Sayner came across the line in 90th overall and 14th in the B race. Christopher Coppellotti was next, finishing 23rd in the Brace, well done gents!

Despite missing 4 of the top 10 Walton finishers from the previous match, the team came good and secured victory on the day by 5 points, a brilliant result, congratulations everyone. Thank you for your efforts, it means we can go into the final match of the season at the top of the league and have a very good opportunity to go up as champions. So, make sure you’re there to experience it.

The final race of the day at 14:00 was the women’s division 2 and 3 race, another strongly contested and exciting race.

First Walton athlete across the line was Alex Slotwinska in 6th place, her 2nd top 10 finish in as many races, well done Alex. Alex is currently in the top 5 runners overall for the season.

Again, separated by only a few seconds were Mandy Ruks in 18th place and Michelle Tafili in 19th place. To have all three Walton runners in the top 20 is a remarkable result and is testament to how hard they have worked this season. Congratulations all. The women’s team are currently sitting a commendable 12th place in division 3, which is very impressive considering the huge points penalty we incur for not fielding a full team. There should be a lot of confidence heading into match 4.