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  • Mike Proffitt

Bonkers BUAC at BUCS XC


North car park, Friday, 9am. Two of the finest blue, white and gold chariots that Johnsons coaches have to offer screech onto the scene. It must be BUCS.

This year’s instalment takes us all the way to enigmatic Edinburgh, a city known for its history, arts, and ferocious anti-weeing committee. As ever BUAC spirits were unfathomably high and not even the thought of a 14-hour round trip could dampen the mood of our 100+ adults and singular pensioner, Ollie Johnson. An onslaught of dreadful music flooded the coaches once again this year keeping this quintessential BUAC tradition alive. Joe Ford did his best to grant those of us with taste respite from this auditory assault but all he could come up with were some questionable Would You Rathers. Unfortunately it did not include a ‘would you rather go to a club and be total legend worldstar-superstar top lad banter banter sick bloke the night before BUCS or wait one more night and not chunder next to the tent while everyone else is doing BUAC proud’. He did however have one supporter in Luke Gunn who regretted his seating choice 5 minutes into the journey and said literally anything would be better than being submitted to the barrage of drivel that comes out of Carps’ mouth.

To make up for the horrendous journey, the captains philanthropically selected the most esteemed establishment that side of Hadrian’s Wall. No expense was spared, and the theme of this year’s accommodation was team building. By stacking as many people into bunk beds as legally possible and in some cases having no plugs for charging electronics, these rooms acted as the kernel of camaraderie just as intended. Some first-year socialites thought it was so great that as soon as they arrived, they insisted on spending yet *more* money on a nearby AirBnB for themselves just so that their teammates could have more hostel per person. Mike Proffitt eventually discovered that one lucky gang of guys even had an en suite in their room but, and this must be a Scottish thing, it looked eerily similar to Carps’ jeans. Deep fried mars bars for dinner and an early night - the stage was set.

First up was the women’s short race and an incredible run by first year Kate O’Neill for an individual bronze! She led our women home for a team silver with help from Masie Grice (6th) and Yasmin Austridge (10th). A quick look back to last year shows us that 18 of our girls finished in the top HUNDRED. This year 17 of our girls finished in the top FIFTY - unbelievable. Elisha Tait came in 13th with some finishing straight speed rivalled only by the speed at which she can locate Patrick Magner in the club. Elsa Palmer was next in 14th and finished right in front of the coaches who also had a involuntarily front row seat for her demonstration of love for awful haircuts that night. Just 7 places separated the next 5 girls. Triathlete Hannah Hobbs (16th) was followed in by first year Katie Stevens (17th) and Aine Cunningham (18th), with Lucy Thornton (20th ) and Lily Higgins (23rd) close behind. After delivering a Grammy-winning cover of one of Drake’s classics, Super captain Whitty came in 32nd closely followed housemate and BUAC doppelgänger enthusiast Jess Keene. Lizzie Squibbs managed to separate herself from ‘love of my life Loxton’ for roughly 24 miniutes which gave her just enough time to complete the race in 35th place. But don’t worry power couple fans, they got straight back to being joined at the hip and taking 14 million couple photos as soon as possible - I literally could not think of a single thing more PDA than that. Lucy Elms sunk her teeth in the competition to come away with 37th, followed by hater of blue crop-tops Meg Ormond (43rd), Scotsman devotee Maddie Mastro (44th) and Anna Blake (47th).

Next up was the Men’s short race. One way to ensure team success is the implementation of a sort of battering ram. Courtesy of Tal Pelmont, the Elbows of Doom (world renowned for their ability to swing from county to county) facilitated another BUAC domination. By sweeping all other competitors from his path much akin to the humble mammoth, Tal cleared a path for all his red and gold compatriots. The superstar freshers led us home with Mr ‘I’m too good for the trials’ Ollie Newman in 5th and Joe ‘Doc’ Hudson in 12th. Matt Rawlings decided to actually try about 3/4 of the way through the race to finish 33rd after hanging around in the 100s for two laps. European 800m champ Oliver Dustin faithfully proved that he’s got more than one arrow in his quiver by finishing strongly just behind in 34th. Mike Proffitt was next in 37th followed by Maximus Walkius who ran an awesome race to come 43rd despite being tripped up and trampled by a stampede of 15mm spikes at the start. Intra-house rivalries are an aspect of every athlete house and many will have heard about the illustrious wager placed between Josh Knight and Joseph Tuffin from 15 Exeter Road. This was the result at the forefront of everyone’s mind once the race was over - A one-pound piece to be given to the victor for every place difference between them. On this occasion it was already affluent Josh Knight who was laughing his way to the bank - an incredible 46th place for him earning him a tasty £31.

The first of the long races now. Each of these girls running the same distance of the men’s short race, no mean feat. Amelia Quirk was running well with the front pack as the pace relentless quickened. She literally put it all on the line and ran herself to exhaustion leading to her unfortunately collapse mid-race. No need to worry sports fans as she’s been given the all clear and is ok. Niamh Brown was our first scorer coming home in 11th especially impressive considering she was on her own for most of the race, exhibiting her incredible mental strength. Magic Sabrina Sinha is always one to deliver at big events. This was once again the case and despite not having the perfect lead up to the big day she finished as BUAC’s second scorer coming home in 20th. Everyone’s favourite trail shoes wearer KPW battled through in 26th despite being berated from the sidelines by the Belper Babe.

The third and final piece of silverware came from the men’s long race. Team silver and the first medal in this race in 4 years. The boys put it all on the line and it really showed as they collapsed onto the floor after crossing the line. With a sneer on his face Mike Ward led the team home in 9th, closely followed by James Gormley in 13th. A two-week long injury which prevented him from proper training couldn’t stop Andy Hayes as he came stomping home in 15th. Lastly, in contention for run of the day, super Charlie Davis came home in 19th. This biblical performance rounded out the team and is sure to have cemented his name into the BUAC history books. What’s even more exciting is that all these 4 have the potential to run again next year.

Once again, I cannot emphasise the improvement we have seen within the club this year. To have the same number of girls finish within the top 50 as the top 100 last year is incredible. Also, our top A scorer last year would’ve been our FIFTH scorer this year. We are moving forward as a club together and no one can deny our commitment or motivation. The team environment we have is a testament to itself and the results are coming. Everyone who ran and those who came to support did the club proud. Every year we turn up and give our all to the entire weekend and it wouldn’t be the same without us. BUAC is more than just a club, it’s a beautiful, red and gold family.

Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be hanging out in Loughborough heads.

Until the next time,

Mike x


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