The 2018 BUCS Cross Country was hosted by the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam on 3rd February, and was a cruel, muddy and – for some – very wet affair.
Birmingham took an enthusiastic team of 100 down to Hillingdon Fields, Uxbridge, and set themselves up for a tough competition.
Where the Birmingham Ladies team is usually strong, this year the quality of the field at the front end was incredible. The team were led home by first year Niamh Brown in 8th position, who ran incredibly well against much older and experienced athletes. With the other scorers being other first-year Jess Keene in 19th, and Victoria Weir in 17th, the ladies fought strongly for a 3rd place position behind stronger Loughborough and St Mary’s teams. This was the 12th year in the last 13, that the ladies have medalled as a team – a fantastic achievement! With the number of female competitors continuing to rise (an increase of 500 in the past 10 years!) this is a very positive result and we hope to continue to see great things from the likes of Niamh, Jess and Victoria.
The men managed a 9th place finish, despite having many injuries within the team during their preparations. The highlight of their performance came from 1st year scholar James Gormley, who ran extremely well in only his second ever run over such a long distance of 10k. Tom Dodd also achieved 7th in the B race, which now has over 400 runners – in comparison to 10 years ago when it only had 120 finishers.
It was also notable that winners of both races were from Manchester and Leeds Beckett, not the usual powerhouses of Loughborough, St Mary’s and Birmingham – a testament to the availability of cross country and the improvements of organisation across the institutions to enter teams, empty coaches and engage with students.
Full results can be found on the BUCS website.